Are You Ready for Some Football? Your Man Probably Is

Football seasonI was riding in the car with The Mister, who came down to The District on business and was hanging out with me, his long-distance lover girl, before he took the journey back up north to Delaware.

“You know how I know I love you?” he asked.

I batted my eyelashes. “Do tell.”

“Today is the first day of football season and I’m here,” he smiled, cutting his eye at me.

“Yeah,” I said, fake swooning. “But I bet you’re DVRing it.”

We laughed because it was true. Love is all fuzzy and cute, but he waits a whole year for action on the field to unfold. I’ve been trying to learn it, not just because of him but because everybody and their mama — almost literally — is into it and I don’t want to be clueless. So I bought (drum roll please) Holly Robinson Peete’s football-for-dumb-girls-like-me book, Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!: A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football.

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Now if I just had time to 1) finish reading it and 2) retain the information that I do manage to digest, I’d be rolling right along. 

As far as stereotypical female behavior goes, I’m somewhere in between two extremes. I’m definitely not the chick who throws on a jersey and screams at the plasma screen and takes team losses to heart, but I’m certainly not the girl who huffs and sulks at not being the center of attention and stands in front of the TV during the last few seconds of overtime either. That kind of acting up will get you locked in a room somewhere when the next game comes on. No thanks, said I. At the very least, I can cheer a touchdown and make friends with the snack spread that almost inevitably goes along with watching the game, which is fine by me. I may not know the regulations of what’s going on on the field, but I do know my way around a hoagie pretty good.

My problem with football is two-fold. For one, I didn’t grow up in a household with a father or brother or uncle who was an enthusiast where I could pick up the finer points of pigskin knowledge. I’m not saying football is a man’s sport, so relax. I’m just saying that most of the women I know who love it learned everything they know about it from a dude they spent a lot of time with.

(Interestingly enough, I used to play powder puff ball in high school and college — under the very crisp direction of my best guy friend and my boyfriend at the time. But I was so busy running where they told me to run I couldn’t actually figure out exactly why I was running where they were telling me to run. So I can play. Just don’t ask me to describe what I did.)
 
Secondly, there are so many doggone rules and the beginner’s page on the NFL website might as well be a manuscript in Yiddish. Flag on the play for this. Penalty yards for that. It’s a tad overwhelming for a novice. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to watch. Aside from the obvious eye candy — Charles Woodson is a little slice of mmm hmm — I really do enjoy the energy and excitement of football. That’s half the battle. I think.

At any rate, I’m ready this year. I do have a team: the Jets. Even though I live in D.C., I have a social aversion to the Washington Redskins because of the team name, so rooting for them is out of the question. My family is from Pennsylvania and my man hails from Philly, but Eagles fans are too out of control for me to support the team and my mom’s dreaded boyfriend roots for the Steelers, so I had to rule them out too (except for my boo Hines Ward, of course). So next up was my allegiance to my one-time home state of New York, naturally.

I’m an eager student of the game and The Man is super proud of that, not to mention uber patient. He doesn't mind explaining plays and answering questions that I can't answer by flipping through my handy female football manual. Still, I can’t say I’ll be tuning in to games when I’m sitting here on my lonesome. Maybe once I get the details down pat but then again there are so many other things to watch — ooh look, a Golden Girls marathon.

Are you ready for some footballllll (adrenaline-filled scream)? Or are you just ready to tolerate it?  

Image via ElvertBarnes/Flickr

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