I can remember countless times when I’ve been in deep conversation with a man, revealing some deep, dark secret, when he suddenly jumps up, waves his fist in the air, and yells, “Sweet!” at the television. You can see how I might feel that he loves football more than he loves me.
Maybe it’s because I live in a region where people are snowed inside for five months of the year, but man after man seems to be obsessed with football. They have season tickets to every game. They watch the NFL games on TV every Sunday. They have framed pictures of Sparty hanging on the walls of their home. All of their casual wear is either green and white or blue and yellow. They have a CD of “The Fight Song” in their car that they play over and over ad nauseam every weekend. Every game is a “big” game. Tailgating is an event that happens every other weekend, rain or shine, and it’s usually rain. They focus in on each game as if a brother or best friend was playing in it.
I once visited a guy for a long weekend, and he spent NINE hours of that weekend in the bar watching football with his new “friends.” NINE hours? Really? That’s more than a full work shift for some people. I have a dance degree, and I wouldn’t spend NINE hours watching ballet. Maybe two or three, but certainly not every weekend.
I grew up in a household that did not watch sports on TV; but, even so, I’ve hated football since I was four, when it would go into overtime and cut into Sunday night Disney, The Partridge Family, or cartoons.
Because I wasn’t raised with football, I have no idea how the game works. Just like every gay man thinks he can teach me to sing, every straight man thinks he can teach me football. Neither is going to happen. When I look at football on TV, all I see is static. When I hear people talk about it, I hear what Charlie Brown heard when his teacher spoke: “Wha, wha, wha, Tom Brady, wha, wha, wha.” Okay, even I can focus in on some things. For instance, I have picked up that a “Hail Mary” is when they get a chance at a free kick. A “huddle” is when they hug each other and make plans. “Fantasy football” is not the same thing as “fancy football.” I learned that one the hard way. If football or any part of it is what men are fantasizing about, that would explain why I’m still single.
I just don’t understand what is so great about watching football. What good is it to see the men in tight pants if you can’t tell what their faces look like with the helmets on? After my ice cream-cookie sandwich is gone, what am I to do with the other 3.75 hours of the game? Every time I try to snuggle, he jumps up to wave his fist in the air again. If I try to unfairly win his attention by prancing around in skivvies, he waves his arm and tells me not to stand in front of the TV.
How do these people have so much time to sit around watching others live their life while their own life is passing them by? Don’t get me wrong, I love to play certain sports myself; but who wants to sit around and watch someone else live out your dream?
Being a football widow, as they call it in the Midwest, seems to go with the territory, but don’t think for one minute that, when my girlfriends and I get together, someone asks, “Did you see the big game last night?” Never, ever, never has that happened.
They say, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Well, not to be a whiner, but it’s cold and wet outside, and who really wants to eat ice cream-cookie sandwiches after September anyway? In my twenties I tried to get involved and learn names of players and who moved to what team, but it wasn’t me. My acting skills didn’t extend to an area where I had a complete lack of interest. Spending time learning about something that I abhorred made me miserable, and I soon realized that I’d never know enough to carry on an educated conversation about football except for what the concession stand offered. I also noticed that the guys made no efforts to learn about ballet to carry on a conversation with me. Finally, I just decided to stop trying to be someone that I wasn’t and decided to just be myself: A football-disliker.
I guess that’s why relationships should be with people that we have things in common with, so we can just be ourselves. Trying to be someone you’re not for a long period of time is not only exhausting, but it’s just going to build up until you explode, and that can only end in tears.