posts tagged with 'football'

not feeling the superiority

We attended a Super Bowl gathering on Sunday evening—one that was well suited to our level of interest in the game. The invitation went, "So I guess there's a Super Bowl... want to come over and pretend to care?" The email went out on Friday, and I wasn't even sure exactly when I was being invited to attend... I was pretty sure the Super Bowl happens on Sunday, but was it thisSunday, or the one following? (no worries, the internet had the deets for me). Now, I don't want to sound like I'm coolly disdainful of the whole thing—that's just obnoxious. There was a time when I knew all about football and cared quite a lot about who won the title. But time has mellowed me (which is to say, left me uncool and out of touch) and neither professional sports nor television are now any part of my life. Parties are, though, so I was more than happy to go! I brought rocky road bars and cheddar jalapeno biscuits.

We kicked off the festivities at 5, which meant we had time to watch almost a whole soccer game (Bayern Munich defeating Real Madrid back in July, because if you haven't seen it before it's new to you!). Then we watched the first 30 minutes of the American football on tape delay so we could skip the bad commercials (it turns out they were all bad except the Smart Park one, which was at least worth discussing). Then we went home. In between the watching we ate hamburgers and chili and chips, and then ice cream sundaes. And biscuits and rocky road bars. And the small children played football and soccer amongst themselves, which is much better than watching it (the bigger children were more drawn to the television screen). It was a good time all around.

I understand from a tweet from our president that the Chiefs ended up winning the thing; congratulations to them, and I hope everyone playing had a good time!



Yesterday we watched the first half of the Superbowl with friends, then headed home for a late bedtime. As I tucked Zion in I asked him who he wanted to pray for. "The Patriots", he answered. I don't know if it's because they were losing or because, thanks to his friend Nathan, he was newly converted by a fan, but either way I thought it was a fine idea. So I prayed for the Patriots to be happy and proud of the way they played, whatever the outcome—Falcons too—and for all the fans to be ok with the result too, and not take it too personally. For my part, at 9:30 last night I was feeling pretty fine about a Patriots loss.

It's not that I don't like the team. I was an impressionable young lad in 1985 and got caught up in the excitement of the playoff run that year, and as a young adult suffered attentively though the Bledsoe years. I feel like I came by fandom honestly—the Patriots may be the Yankees of football now, but I liked them when they managed to find new and exciting ways to fail every season.

Rather, the problem is the national picture these days. It's bad enough that the owner, coach, and quarterback are Trump supporters—in the run-up to the game I also read how white supremacists (you get to hear all about what white supremacists think, these days) were excited to root for a team with three white wide receivers. On the flip side, I was glad to see that in the face of that sort of support the Falcons were wide national favorites. So while I couldn't help rooting for the home team while in the presence of the TV yesterday evening, it wasn't hard to come up with upsides for a Patriots loss.

Then of course they came back to win it (as I discovered this morning) and the whole process repeated itself in reverse. Yay hometown heroes! Rejoice (in a time-shifted fashion so typical of our modern era) with my local friends and neighbors! But there was also a little dismay that terrible people would also be happy about the outcome.

Oh well. Through all those twists and turns (well, really just the one) I managed to survive because it turns out I don't really care about football that much anymore. It's been a long road—starting with a disappointing outcome back in 2009 that clearly made a big impression at the time—but I can now be in a house where the Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl and be content with, rather than watching, reading Green Eggs and Ham to the two-year-olds. As I did last night. (Somebody had to! Those little guys don't have the attention spans you need to stick with that telecast!)

Football is in many ways a beautiful game—acknowledging too its deep problems around safety and racial integration and labor issues—and I happily watched the second half of the game this evening. But being a fan is hard! Only one team can win it all, and everyone else has to go home unhappy. And even when our team does win, the reflected glory doesn't stick around for that long. Hooray, we're represented by the best team in the history of football! We still had to get up this morning and go to work (speaking generally, that is; I was busy with homeschooling). And even the winning players will need to start thinking, soon enough, about what they're doing for next season.

To bad we can't just enjoy sports—as spectators, as players—for the amazing displays of human possibility they represent at the highest level. And at lower levels, because it's just plain fun to play ball! But we can't. So, prayers for the Patriots were right on, Zion. And for the rest of us too.


the super bowl is so much nicer on the west coast

While I enjoyed last night's game—if not the final outcome—I can't say that, in retrospect, the complete experience was a positive one. Oh, it was great fun watching along with friends and observing Harvey take in his first Super Bowl, but the lateness of the hour really cast a pall over the whole thing. Even had the local 55 (58? whatever) pulled out the victory I would have felt pretty wrung-out on the drive home, and the loss just emphasized the futility of the whole thing. As I said at the time, if I knew the game was going to end like that I would have gone home at 9:00!

Besides being unused to staying up so late in social situations, I also found myself startlingly unaccustomed to television—the ads in particular, but really even the whole giant moving picture thing itself. The ads were especially bad since I felt responsible for exposing Harvey to such a sink of depravity and commercialism; it may have been my newly developing parenting bones speaking, but there sure seemed to be more naked people than I remember from previous Super Bowls. The whirl of imagery, together with the nachos and mac-and-cheese and coconut macaroons I was stuffing for the first three quarters, meant that my sleep was not as calm and refreshing as I might have hoped.

Not that I mean in any way to disparage the party. Harvey and I has a great time, and we much appreciate the invitation. Maybe next year, though, we can start the party around lunch time and then listen to the game on the radio on the way home (and subsequently in bed)? Or maybe just skip the football altogether and have a party without any excuse at all. Less stress that way, and no possibility of crushing disappointment. Unless, I guess, someone else snags the last macaroon.


out of the box

Today the 3rd graders were asking me if I was going to watch the Patriots playoff game this weekend, and they were shocked and amazed when I told them that I wasn't because we don't have a tv. "What do you do?!" one of them asked incredulously. What indeed! I figure that at this stage of our life a tv wouldn't actually slow us down that much: it's pretty much caring for babies full time lately, and that can be accomplished just as well in front of some quality programing. But of course there's the moral component—how could we possibly raise good little hippies if we let them be exposed to mass culture?!

Another kid had a better question, wondering how under the circumstances I was so well-versed in the characters and settings of Phineas and Ferb. I told her we watched on the computer (not mentioning the questionable legality of the particular method), which of course led other perceptive children to wonder why I couldn't watch the game online. I told them to take it up with the NFL and the broadcast networks, but when I started trying to describe licensing and blackouts they got bored and wandered away.

I've been completely out of the loop this football season, but I did try and catch up with a few of the late-season games via bittorrent; I tell you, football games take a lot of time to watch, even with all the ads stripped out. But when you already know how it comes out and you can pause it indefinitely in the background, it's kind of nice to watch a game in five-minute intervals over the course of a couple weeks. It sure doesn't get in the way of your life like watching it on live tv does! So don't worry 3rd graders, we're doing alright.


a vital shared cultural event

Our friends all know that we are no longer in contact with the outside world via television, and most of the time it doesn't bother them. So we didn't catch the latest episode of Gray's or Biggest Loser: no big deal. This first tv-less Superbowl, though, was another matter. Several people very kindly contacted us to make sure that we had a place to watch the proceedings, quite rightly realizing the huge cultural importance of the game, or at least of the advertisements. So we didn't miss a thing, thank goodness! Although why the NFL (or CBS) isn't streaming the whole affair, free with commercials, I have no idea.

And of course the experience was all the sweeter since the Saints won, making it the first happy-ending Superbowl in three years. The food and the company wasn't bad, either.


tv is dead to me now. again.

I said it before, but this time it's for real. I very much enjoy the game of football, and any other sport you care to name, but the televised version takes up entirely too much time. I have many other more fun options for wasting my days away, thank you; as of now I will refrain from spending so much of any one of them in front of the television. The seven or eight hours yesterday made me feel distinctly stupider today. Then again, some of that could have been the sleep deprivation. Either way.

making up for lost tv time

Since Harvey was getting over his sickness today (knock on wood) we hung around home all day. We even skipped church! As scandalous as that sounds, it was probably necessary, considering how destroyed we were after a very tough night. Especially Leah, who did most of the night work.

So what to do all day? Happily, the baby was better enough that he could get outside a little bit, to take a walk with me and Rascal and then help me and Leah with some leaf raking. But that was only a couple hours; the rest of the time he and I were in front of the tv watching the football. Which takes alot of time, it turns out. Combine the two games I already watched today with the fragments of college games I took in yesterday, and I've probably watched more tv this weekend than I did over the last two or three months. And that's not all! The Patriots play the Colts this evening (starting in mere moments, in fact!) and despite my tiredness I'm going to try and take in at least some of it.

Then we can cancel the tv service.


weather update

Here it is the 18th of October, and we've had two snowy days already! Friday it snowed in the morning, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to play in the snow by biking through it to work. People again said I was crazy. This afternoon it started raining, but at some point giant lumps of snow (like, an inch across) started mixing with the rain, and then it changed entirely to snow. Now it's mostly back to rain, but still. Again, I couldn't resist playing in it, first by taking a walk with Harvey and Rascal and then by, ahem, biking in it. It turns out snow has some moisture in it!

Surprisingly, not everyone is as enthusiastic about this early winter weather as I am. In fact, most non-children seem quite unhappy! I can't understand why... would they maybe prefer rain? I'm sorry to break it to you, but it's very unlikely that we're going to be able to squeeze in another day at the beach this year, so I don't see how a little snow or cold weather inconveniences anyone in the least. But to each their own, I guess. Me, I enjoy snow at least through March.

[I have to add: one group who definitely enjoyed the snow was the Patriots and their fans. I wasn't going to watch the game—I'm too good for tv now—but I had to tune in to see them play in the snow. And so I got to watch a beating for the ages, which is nice.]