Monday, August 1, 2011

Everything I know about football has nothing to do with the game

Am I the only one who never, ever, not even for a second, believed that they wouldn’t have an NFL season this year?

You think Budweiser would let that happen???

And, really, have you seen the job market lately? I can’t even get part-time jobs to acknowledge they received my resume.

What would Michael Vick do without the NFL? Work at the SPCA?? (zing!!)

Born and raised in New Orleans, I’m a Saints fan, but I’m one of those annoying Johnny-come-lately fans who only started paying attention once Reggie Bush started running zig-zags and making touchdowns and winning the Superbowl.

It’s not that I’m a fair-weather fan or anything. I just never got into football.
Maybe it’s because I never went to a school that had a football team (Catholic girls start much too late).

There was some hope when I enrolled in a Sports Writing class in college. Incidentally, the greatest lesson of that course was that I figured out I most certainly did NOT want to be a sports reporter.

I did learn one thing: linebackers* are meant to be big and fat.

See, for the class I had to do an assignment on a “social issue” in sports, like taking steroids or college football players getting perks and money on the side (apparently, that’s illegal) and I chose to write about how gymnasts aren’t allowed to eat anything.

I did gymnastics growing up and actually had a friend (with more dedication to the sport than me) who was on the roster for the LSU gymnastics team.

“Why don’t you contrast a gymnast’s diet with one of a football player?” the professor asked.

I frowned. What football player? Our college had no team.

It turned out another friend of mine attended a small college in South Carolina with a football team and one of the players was in her history class. She got his number for me.

I began the interviews.

My gymnast friend told me the coach weighed them every day before practice and if someone gained even a pound, they had to do extra laps.
Didn’t want to break a wrist or ankle by being "overweight," she said.

“Besides, we have to look good; we’re in leotards,” she added.

When I asked what the gymnastics team ate during out-of-state meets, she said the coach would always book them at a hotel with a restaurant and they’d have pre-portioned, pre-ordered 8 ounces of chicken or fish, a small side and vegetables.
Water and iced tea only.

In contrast, the football player I interviewed, who happened to be a linebacker, said his job on the team, AND I QUOTE, was “to be as big as possible but still be able to run.”

This was so he could essentially be a truck and block people from getting through the line to the quarterback.

I nodded, pretending like I understood what that meant.

“So, when the team travels to a game, what do you eat for dinner?” I asked.

“I dunno, two, three hamburgers, a couple slices of pizza, maybe some fried chicken.”

That’s more like it!!

And…that’s how I ended up getting a B+ in sports writing without ever actually understanding a single play.

Case in point: Last October, when I was lucky enough to watch a game from THE DOME, BABY, I looked at Saints quarterback Drew Brees with binoculars and saw something.

It was a secret that just me and Drew knew about.

I squinted and looked through the binoculars again, just to make sure I really saw it, and I did. I almost clapped with excitement.

“OH MY GOD!” I said to my then-boyfriend (and ticket holder), still looking through the binoculars.

“WHEN DREW IS ALL CLOSE TO THE GUY HIKING THE BALL, HE THROWS SHORT PASSES…AND WHEN HE BACKS UP, HE THROWS…LONG PASSES!!!” I explained.

He didn’t say anything at first, because he was shaking his head pitifully.

“DO YOU THINK THE OTHER TEAM KNOWS ABOUT THAT?!?” I whispered, still peering through the binoculars.

I felt so smart.

“Um, yea, when he backs up it’s called a ‘shotgun’ and everyone knows about it,” he replied.

Oh.
I frowned.

“Really?”

“Yea.”

“Well, not everyone knows about it,” I said, feeling foolish.

Haha I wouldn’t repeat that to anyone dawlin!” the person with a thick New Orleans accent sitting on my other side said, laughing, eavesdropping. "People will think you crazy."

From then on, I kept my mouth shut about strategy and resorted to checking out how fat the linebackers were.

I wonder how many hamburgers they ate that day.

-Jenny

*Someone told me I meant to write lineman instead of linebacker, which further proves my incompetence.

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