Football Fever and Falcon’s Fans
(published Signal Mountain Mirror February 2013)
If you had asked me a year ago what a thirty-yard bootleg was, I would probably have replied that it had something to do with whiskey.
And isn’t a blitz a new shake at the Dairy Queen?
If you think the term “eligible receiver” sounds like a box you might have checked in that online sweepstakes you entered last month, then this column might just be for you.
In other words, I am writing to you people out there who, like me, know very little about the grand and ever growing sport of American Football.
It’s not that I don’t like sports. I tried many of them when I was a kid, and I played real football, i.e. soccer, in high school and college. Furthermore, I like watching the Olympics, and I can tell you the names and mascots of most of the Major League baseball teams.
But ask me about the line of scrimmage or if I think the referee’s fourth down call was fair, and I will probably look at you with a blank stare like a 6th grader in a Calculus class.
My 7-year-old son, on the other hand, has recently taken his love of the sport to a new level. He has football fever; an obsession that may have begun after a trip he and his dad and granddad took to see the Atlanta Falcons play in the fall. Since that time, he has not only grown to love the Falcons, but his overall love of Friday night, Sunday night, Monday night, and any-other-night-football has quadrupled.
I know he truly has football fever because top on his list of presents this year for Christmas were jerseys of his favorite players. Not only that, but he frequently makes posters for his room of all the NFL teams he likes, and even a few he does not.
So fierce is this newfound passion that as a family, we now think twice about going to eat at restaurants that have TVs. Last time we did go to one, his eyeballs remained glued to the screen as his cheese quesadilla and refried beans grew cold on his plate.
So with the Super Bowl soon approaching, I figured I’d better do something drastic to cure my son of this infection that seems to grow each time he watches a game. Of course, the more I tried to think of possible ways to thwart his preoccupation with the sport, the more I realized how impossible a task this would be.
So instead, I decided to convert my own cynicism of the sport into a genuine passion for it. At the very least, I thought I could try to learn a few phrases, maybe a rule or two so that I too could be a part of this amazing football fantasy that my son and millions of other people share.
For advice on how to sound smart during the big game, I turned to my father-in-law who is an avid Alabama fan and former high school football and basketball coach. Here are a couple of the phrases he taught me that I plan to use on the night of the big game.
Phrase number one: “Boy, What a pancake block.” This one can be used anytime a team is stopped from moving forward. It can also be used at the IHOP, which makes it pretty darn valuable.
Phrase number two: “Man, I knew they were going to throw the bomb.” I am told that this line can be used when the ball is thrown for a deep pass.
Phrase number three: “I bet they blitz on this play.” I am still not quite sure what this means, but I am thinking I can safely throw it out here and there and sound like I know what I am talking about.
And finally, phrase number four: “smash mouth football.’’ See explanation of phrase number three.
I can see it all now. Using these great phrases, I am sure to impress our friends and my husband and son. For once, I may even enjoy the game, and not just the commercials and cheese dip. It will be the best Super Bowl ever!
In all honesty, this is probably not at all the way my Super Bowl night will look. Despite my efforts to be included and my genuine desire to want to understand the game, I will likely get more excited about making cupcakes with tiny footballs drawn on the tops than I will about any touchdowns that occur.
Last week our son had an indoor soccer game in which he played goalie for most of the game. His team won, but it was close and he got scored on several times. On the car ride home I asked him if it was hard for him when the other team scored on him. To this he replied,
“It did make me mad to hear the other team cheer, but then I thought, ‘what would Matt Ryan (Falcons quarterback) think? He would think to himself, “I am a good player and I can do this,’ so that is what I told myself.”
I was stunned. This boy of mine who loves all sports, especially football, has learned an incredible lesson and has in turn taught me some valuable insight.
I have learned again and in a new way that sports really matter, both playing them and watching them. They matter to the fans and to the players who tie their hopes and dreams to a winning season. They matter to the coaches who pour their hearts into inspiring and motivating their players. And most of all, sports matter to the kids out there like mine who are just beginning to understand the joy in striving to be better and do better.
Thanks to his love of football, my son found, when faced with a big challenge, the courage of a lion. My hope is that through his participation in sports this courage will grow bigger each time he is tested. Or blitzed.
Or perhaps I should say that I hope his courage soars. Like a falcon.
Football Whoopie Pies
To make this recipe really simple, I used a box of chocolate angel food cake mix. I have made these from scratch, and I am not sure it is worth it.
I followed the directions on the box and then when I spooned the batter onto the pan, I just shaped them oval instead of round.
Then I used the icing on the top to make it look like a football.
Simple. Easy. Fun. Tasty
Go Falcons! Wait, I forgot, they are not in the Superbowl this year!