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Monday, February 8, 2016

Loving The Game

Where in the world does the time go? I began February convinced that I would be ambitious, writing at least twice a week. Then it seemed as if every evening that I planned to write, something would come up. Apparently, going forward, I need to write a few extra posts just for those days. Lesson learned, I hope. When Thursday came and went and I hadn't yet written, I decided that I absolutely must write on Friday. Well, something came up on Friday, so I decided on Saturday.

Saturday we began a movie marathon and the opportunity to write slipped through my careless fingers. Sunday? Impossible! How could I write on Sunday? There would be so many people (okay, me) watching the Super Bowl that there was no sense in writing. Yes, I was one of the people who spent a good bit of Sunday following the game. Trent doesn't care for football, and furthermore, seems to be a curse to the Broncos. On the rare occasions that he looks at the telly when they are playing, they invariably lose. When he decided to take a nap half an hour before kickoff, I knew what I would be doing instead of snoozing. Yep, watching football.

Here's the funny thing, though. This is the only football game I have watched during this entire football season. I am definitely not one of those fair-weather fans that only care about their team when they make it to the championship. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Way back when I was in junior high school (that's what it was called in the Dark Ages when I was young, not middle school) my legal guardian, Bill, had season tickets for the Broncos. When I went to my first game, I really didn't know much about what was going on, to tell you the truth. In fact, perhaps a year earlier, my cousin Hal was at our house and turned on a football game. When I asked him why the team playing hadn't scored when the ball was thrown into the end zone (after all, it had crossed the line!) he was kind enough to hide his undoubted shock and disgust at my ignorance.

When I was starting high school, I went to a game that changed my feelings about football forever. As I sat in the stadium on a sunny afternoon, a young player by the name of Rick Upchurch caught a ball (I don't remember whether it was a kickoff or a punt) and ran it back, dodging tackles and gaining easily forty yards or more. I wasn't educated about what was going on, but I knew that it was exciting to see. I made it clear to Bill that if he ever needed someone to fill one of his four season ticket seats, I would be ready to go at a moment's notice.

Within a short time, I knew most of the rules of the game. I could spot an infraction clear across the field, and often surprised the others in our group by calling the infraction and the lost or gained yardage before the refs announced them. At times when the line judges halted the game to measure whether the play had resulted in a first down, it seemed that I always knew whether it was 4th and short, or a first down by inches. For those of you who are not devotees of the game, I apologize for boring you to death right now, but please trust me when I say that those around me were impressed by these skills. And I was calmly confident about it rather than being a braggart.

The year that the Broncos went to their first Super Bowl, I was in attendance at every home game, including playoffs. I think Bill may have stopped inviting his daughters and opted to ask me instead because I loved the game so much. When our team won the conference championship and the fans stormed the field, we ran in the opposite direction so as not to get caught in the crazed throng. They tore down the goalposts, and that's pretty scary. We lost the big game, but I was still devoted to my Broncos. In the next few years, my love of the game grew. I had to watch the game on Sunday, whether I was there or not. If I was home, I'd make some popcorn and sit in front of the tv, yelling at the refs and getting incredibly wound up about the game. Gram usually didn't watch, but she got a chuckle out of hearing me during the game.

It got to the point where I felt lost without a game to watch. This, my friends, could be called an addiction. Once I was in such need of a fix that I turned on a college game. Neither one of the teams was from our state, and I had never watched college football before, but I really needed some football. The game was almost over, but as I watched the last few minutes I was incredibly impressed by one of the young men on the field. I remember telling Gram that there was a young man playing who was going to become a big star in professional football. I told her his name and said to remember it. That young college player was Joe Montana. 

Over the years, I became known for what people described as watching football like a guy. I guess what they meant was that all of my ladylike manners flew out the window when the game began. I would yell and jump out of my seat and other such madness. It was about the time that I met Trent that I realized I had a habit that had gotten a bit out of hand. I knew that for my sanity and the sake of others around me, I had to cut back on the game-watching. 

So I don't follow the game like I used to. I can't tell you the names and numbers of all of the players like I could in the old days. I'm always silently supporting my still-loved local team, and I keep on top of how they're doing in the standings. And sometimes I catch a bit of a game here and there. In order not to bother Trent, I watched the Super Bowl on my computer. The excitement was strong, and I could feel my breathing becoming more shallow. When I agreed or disagreed with the calls the refs made, I did so mentally or in a whisper. Thank goodness Trent woke up in time for the third quarter because I might have had a coronary event from holding back so much. I did have a few minor outbursts after he was awake, but I did a fair job of controlling myself. And my favorite team won! I guess I still love the game, but usually from a distance. If not, I might end up attending meetings and saying that my name is Katrina and I'm a football addict!



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