Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm a Fool for Football

Today, I became a star.  A TV star, no less.  My mug was even on ESPN.  Not just ESPN 4, but the real, original ESPN. 

And it was so much fun, regardless of the fact that I made a complete fool of myself.

We'll work our way up to the foolishness.  First, I must tell you of my lackadaisical relationship with football.

I only considered myself a fan of the Cleveland Browns because I lived in a town near Cleveland.  The only player I knew by name was Bernie Kozar, and that's only because he almost led the team to a Super Bowl one year.  That one year, all over Northeast Ohio, you couldn't get away from the song.

Bernie, Bernie
How you can throw
Super Bowl

That song is unfortunately taking up valuable space in my brain because it was played non-stop.  I would much rather have that space to remember things like my kids' names, to keep me from looking like a dweeb going through the whole list to get to the name of the one child at which I am yelling.  But alas, the song stays.

All to say, I haven't been a football fan, despite the fact that I grew up ten minutes away from the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I drove past the mecca of football greatness every day on my way to work, yet I didn't step foot in it until I took my kids five years ago.


Each year, Canton hosts the Hall of Fame game to officially start the football preseason.  Since my dad was a policeman and worked the games, I was able to go to many of them. I in no way saw this opportunity as a big a deal.  The Hall of Fame shares it's stadium with the high school right next door, so it isn't a big stadium.  Certainly nothing like the stadiums in the cities where the teams normally play.  To watch the games, I actually just sat in the grass on a hill behind the end zone.  The stadium kinda felt like home, since I ran on the track around the field many, many times in my high school track career.

After leaving Canton, I went through a brief period of trying to like football.  That whole newlywed thing of, "I love him and I want to know all about the things he likes" type of trying to like football.  I learned the basics, but just couldn't get excited about the game.

One weekend, Hubby made me go to a Purdue game.  I was trying really hard to stay focused, follow the game, and cheer at appropriate times.  At one point, a lull in the game if you will, I stood up to get a better look at something on the field.  I was on my feet for all of five seconds, when from behind me came the screeching sound of a crazy person.  Startled, I turned around.  Standing a few rows behind me was a large woman in a muumuu, stringy hair flying, with a face that was completely encompassed by a horrific scowl directed fully and completely at me.   Then she screeched again, and I heard these words come out of her mouth:

"Down in front!  There is a cripple back here!" 

I don't know if all of the handicapped seating was taken, or if there was no such thing as handicapped seating back then, or if there even was a crippled person with her.  I didn't take the time to look or ask.  Completely mortified, I immediately sat my rear back in my chair.  While I turned bright red from embarrassment, Hubby and the many folks around us tried to contain their laughter.  I don't think they tried very hard.

Ever since that day, I have been scared to death to stand up in any arena, for any reason.  I can, and do, laugh about the whole thing, making fun of both her and me, but you won't catch me standing up before everyone behind me does. 

These days, the only football games I go to are Colts' games, and I only go to those if there is an event with Hubby's clients.  I've been to a few, and while I enjoyed myself, it wasn't because I was watching the game.

Today, all of that changed.  Today, I watched every single play, knew exactly what was going on, and had the time of my life. 

Hubby and I were invited to attend with some clients, as usual.  But this time, we were in a suite right behind an end zone.

Not one spectator separated me from the field.  Oh my word, I had a blast.

You know you are close to the action when you can hear the audibles from the quarterback.

I could have reached over and pulled the hair of that Fox Sports guy in green in order to get him out of my shot, but I thought it may have been rude to do so.
You know you are probably too close when you can see the colors of the jock straps the players are wearing.  Not that I was looking, or even trying to distinguish the color, but when they are lining up right in front of you, there's not much else to see.

I talked to the kids at halftime, and they said that they saw me on TV right before the opening kick-off.  It was just me and the receiver on the screen.  Everyone was happy to see me, but the moment that made me a star came later in the game.

At halftime, the Colts were winning 20-6.  During the second half, their playing tanked, and with 39 seconds or so left in the game, the Vikings tied it all up.

The Colts managed to get down the field with just a few successful passes, right towards us.  They decided to go for the 53 yard field goal.

The net went up right in front of me.  Just in case the kick was good, the net was there to protect us spectators. 

I had my phone directed at the crossbar, waiting for the kick to come through, knowing the kids would love a photo of the ball hitting the net.

Well, the kick was good,

and the ball hit the net.

However, when the ball hit the net, it hit it hard enough to knock the net behind me.  In my naivete, I thought that was awesome.  There was no net to mess up my view of the celebration taking place on the field and in the stands.  I was jumping up and down, screaming my head off.  On one of my downs, my foot hit something.  I turned around to find that I had just stepped on THE GAME-WINNING BALL!!!  I bent down to get it, not realizing that by doing so, I was basically putting my rear into the camera.  Someone else managed to snatch the ball before I got it, so I stood up and turned back to the celebration.  Well, that is when they decided to pull the net back to where it belongs, which just happened to be on the ground in front of me.

Remember I said the net had been knocked behind me?

Well, when they started pulling it up and around, I got stuck.  Like a fisherman who accidentally catches a whale, those workers didn't catch a ball, but instead a 5'7" mess of a woman, flailing around trying to untangle herself before being pulled into the wide unknown. 

It was completely ridiculous.  I'm just glad that even though it felt like an eternity, it was only a matter of seconds before I got out.  Just in time to turn around to see Hubby laughing his tail off.

We got to see the whole thing replayed several times on the big screen.  Over and over again I got to see my rear end.  I've gotta say, it looked just a tad on the huge side up on that screen.  I do believe I need to keep an eye on my M&Ms intake each day. 

If you want to see the game highlights, go here.  When it gets to the end and the big kick, don't blink.  I'm the one in white jeans who, after the big kick, jumps up with arms raised up high.  I guess I'm over my fear of standing in front of a "cripple", because I didn't pay one lick of attention to the people behind me.  Fortunately for me, but not so for you, the video cuts out after that.  You don't get to see my big bum or my daring escape from the clutches of the end zone net.

Now that I've had this experience, football games will never be the same.  Up in the nosebleeds, I won't get to hear the ball being caught.  Up on the second level, I won't get to see the face of the quarterback.  In any other seat, I won't have the chance to step on a game ball.

I guess I just need to o stay positive.  Be grateful for the fact that no matter where I sit, I can always make a fool of myself.  It's pretty much guaranteed.  At least I can get a blog post out of it.

Have a lovely day!


  1. A.W.E.S.O.M.E! This helps me understand your text. I seriously thought you had mis-typed, well, ALL of it. But no. You meant exactly what you said. :)

    1. Never doubt the texts, my friend. Never doubt the texts.

  2. I can't stop laughing. I wish they would show the entire thing. We should be able to find it somewhere.


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