Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew
Airing My Dirty Laundry!
The Power of Pigskin
I suppose itís far too late to point out that I am definitely not ready for some football.
I doubt even Hank Jr. and all his rowdy friends could come over and make me appreciate the game. Yet here we are, once again deeply embedded in the season of beering and cheering, of touchdowns and testosterone. And Iím realizing how much the power of pigskin has shaped my life.
It started, as most psychologically traumatizing things do, in childhood. My father was gripped by a grave case of gridiron giddiness, and most of his mania was focused on the University of Oklahoma Sooners .
Game days were serious business around our house. By the time my dadís friends arrived to catch the kickoff with their first brewski, the air was electric with excitement. If the Sooners did well, all would be right with the universe, and my papa and his pals would be bursting with pride.
If they did not do well, if they fumbled and failed, a deathly pall would hang over the house, and each man would have to find his own way to deal with his distress.
On the day of that granddaddy of all games for the diehard Sooner fan Ė OU versus Texas Ė my father and his mates would do a happy little dance around the room every time their team scored, and theyíd sing a mockingly modified version of the Texas fight song that ended with a rather rude suggestion involving biting and backsides.
But if, by some terrible tragedy, the loathsome Longhorns won the game, there would be great weeping and gnashing of teeth, along with an increased consumption of beer to drown their Sooner sorrows.
One of my dadís friends actually once punched a hole in the wall, unable to contain his outrage at the calamity that had befallen the team.
All over a silly game. I just didnít get it.
Then I went to college (at OU, naturally) and there, on a bright August day, I met a handsome, seemingly normal man. We talked about everything under the sun Ė literature, art, philosophy, our hopes and dreams.
But then came September, and I was shocked one Saturday to find this fellow that Iíd fallen for screaming shirtless in a stadium, his face and body painted crimson for the team. If I was smart, Iíd have run away as fast as I could. But I was in love, and we all know that love is as blind as, judging by fan reaction, a great number of football referees.
So I foolishly married the man, and in time, produced some miniature Madden men of my own.
Fast forward to today. Iím living in a house absolutely inundated by pigskin passion. We have football bed sheets, football posters on the walls, even football toilet seat covers. On Friday nights, we watch my skinny, high school son in constant danger of being turned into a football version of Flat Stanley by what look (to me, anyway) like giants on the opposing team trying to tackle him.
During this silliest of seasons, the televisions in our house broadcast a perpetual stream of games, interrupted only by endless rounds of neckless men in nice suits discussing those games and the gladiators who play them. Our living room carpet suffers from football-mouth disease, caused by a constant assault from nacho cheese, onion dip, beer and chips that fall from lips that have to stop eating and scream at the idiots who are letting the victory slip from their very large hands.
And itís only going to get worse. The holidays will be hamstrung by this crazy sport.† When our extended family gathers to give thanks, three generations of football fanatics will genuflect before the gridiron god. Itís enough to make me want to throw up. Or punch a hole in the wall. Or maybe Iíll grab some of my rowdy friends and go shopping.
~ †© Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~
Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com
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