When my sister-in-law asked me what Mike and I were doing, I answered, “Well, the big Seahawks game is on.”
“Oh, how does it feel to be a football widow?” She assumed that Mike would be watching the game and I would be prepping the brownies or putting the knee-pads on for the obligatory head-at-half-time, because in her world, you’re either baking or blowing.
None of the men in my life have been interested in sports. The beaus who came along before Mike didn’t give one asscheek (I almost wrote asscheck, which sounds like a weird form of currency) about sports. So when Mike and I were in the early stages of courtship, I wanted to be the cool girlfriend who didn’t say things like, “I’m rooting for the clock,” or stand right in front of the television like I was made out of glass, I plopped my uneducated butt next to him in an attempt to figure out what compelled my man to devote hours to this testosterone mystery. Many conversations went like this:
Me: Who’s playing?
Mike: St. Louis Rams and the Carolina Panthers.
Me: I hate the Panthers!
Mike: No, honey, we like the Panthers.
Me: Oh. I hate the Rams!
Remember Sponge from Salute Your Shorts? He got his name because he was so smart, if you pressed his brain, information would squish out, like, wait for it, a sponge! My husband is the same way, only much of that cranial ooze is comprised of stats, field positions and the fluctuating price of milk in the 70’s. With the bulk of our Thanksgiving dedicated to watching the games, I’ve written up a few helpful hints that have guided me through these last four years with SpongeMike Squarepants (but if he gains weight, he’ll be SpongeMike Roundpants).
If you’re like me and don’t have the time to go attend Football for Wives 101, but want enough to get through the rest of this season, here’s a primer with a small p:
1. Learn the language/history:
In order to get through a game, you’ll need to know the basic glossary of terms like blitz, coverage, yardage, etc. You don’t have to know everything, but it will come naturally.
Last year was the first time the Seahawks made it to the Superbowl and they did stupid things like miss a ball or screw up a kick. However, I choose not to remember the errors and instead, remember when Ben Roethlisberger (the cheater) sneaked the ball over the line for a touchdown and the refs protected that cheater with their stupid officiating. I share my man’s grudge.
FYI: If you’re on the west coast, it’s a good chance that ESPN won’t talk about your team because they hate west coast teams and besides, everyone hates the Seahawks.
2. Direct your anger/smart-ass remarks.
If a ref has called something against your team, always say, “That was a stupid call,” or “What was that?!?” If the Field Judge has erred (or even if he hasn’t, it doesn’t matter), get really angry, or remember the time that your man brought home whipping cream instead of heavy cream when you clearly marked it on a list with a Sharpie (I’m working with recent events here), yell, “What does FJ stand for? Effing joke?” When Mike Holmgren is blabbing behind his laminated roster, I say, “What are you doing? Ordering a hoagie?”
If John Madden’s an announcer, you’re in luck. Make fun of him as much as you can. You will learn quickly that he is the king of obvious. He only has three things to say: What a pass! What a play! That’s the way to sack him! If you hear anything else, that’s someone from EA Sports feeding it to him through the earpiece. Also, you can do a great Madden impression if you include, “blub, blub, blub,” with any of the preceding soundbites. If he stumbles over anything, which usually happens when Al Michaels, the real journalist, cuts him off, say, “Where’s your tough-acting Tenactin now? Booyah!” And this is my favorite gem: “That’s John Maddening.” That pun’s on me, my friend.
3. Fake it, fake it, fake it.
Sports Cliche List is the definitive source of everything everyone says about sports. If you’re going to watch a game, memorize about five and alter it accordingly. If someone does something especially egregious that warrants a personal foul, say, “They’ll be talking about this is in the locker room.”
There are some classic all-purpose ones not included like, “We don’t have time for this!” or “Why are you even playing Sundays, idiot!”
4. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
I’m pretty lucky that my husband doesn’t mind when I bombard him with questions during the game. I know a lot of guys that get all territorial with football and shoo women away. Mike’s friend asked me a lot of, “Who’s the running back for…” kind of questions just to make me feel stupid but I shot back with, “Well, I do know you were the first round draft pick for the Missouri Jerkfaces.”
Learning about football is not learning about quantum physics. If you don’t know anything about quantum physics now, it’s unlikely that you’ll make it in that field. Once I figured out what was going on in a game, it was like I cracked a code. And if you already know that 4th and inches is not the score, you’re way ahead. It took me a while before I realized that number’s impossible.
I should end this by saying that you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do. If you want to let your significant other enjoy the game while you take a much needed break, fine. At the very least, it’s something considerate and at the most, it could get you laid. If Mike said, “So, Luke and Lorelai were together, then they weren’t together, then they were together and now they’re not together, and now she married Christopher? WTF,” I would be getting off like a prom dress. Same deal. You can forget Spanish Fly with this magic.