Last Monday, for example, I struggled to remember (rather than ask Tom for the eight-hundredth time) whether that night’s game was pro or college ball. (I recently learned that there is an order to this, rules as to who plays when.)
I’m developing a system for keeping it straight. If the teams are called the Packers, the Saints or the Steelers, I’m golden: I know it’s pro. If they are things like Badgers or Ducks or other varmints, I smell college. But I was thrown recently when I learned of school teams called the Tide and the Trojans. Maybe there are so many damn college tams they ran out of appropriate animals. Nobody wants to be called the Sloths or the Titmice, so they eschewed the whole critter thing and opted for macho names invoking the ocean’s motion and condoms.
Another of my football appreciation exercises is an attempt to remember which city each team is from. The other night, for example, the Saints were playing on their home turf. Certain that I knew where that team hailed from, I thought I’d show off for Tom. Noting the sweat dripping from the Saints’ locks, I casually said, “Wow, looks like it’s unseasonably warm in St. Louis.”
“Atta baby, move the chains!” Tom yelled, too engrossed to notice my display of expertise. “Look at that! It’s a thing of beauty!” he said, scarfing down a fistful of popcorn. “It’s poetry in motion!”
While I have used the latter phrase in reference to, say, the Alvin Ailey dancers or Ryan Gosling, I have never used it to describe football. But when they did a slo-mo replay of some barge-size annihilator whacking the quarterback, sending him into a mid-air flip from which he recovered landing gracefully on his feet with the ball still in his hands, I was willing to admit that qualified as poetic. (Maybe more Hallmark than Yeats.)
Next thing I’ll be working on is that thing that happens about twenty minutes into a game, when the TV becomes, to me, like a lava lamp. I stare at it, but my mind is pretty much 100% elsewhere.
Meanwhile, I’m prepping for the next game. I heard the Bears are playing, and by the weekend I swear I will know if they are pro or college (the forest animal name suggests college but I will Google), what city they are from, and if I have the energy I might even find out who the quarterback is.