Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “football”

Gathering of Champions

All real sports fans are well aware that I was captain of the 7th grade intramural flag football champions.  After that I eventually became an undrafted NFL free agent.  But enough about me.  Yesterday my wife, Miss Sugar, and I met the wife of Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner, who won heavyweight wrestling at the 2000 Olympics.  The championship match is comparable to the U.S. Hockey team’s “miracle on ice.”

Rulon defeated a Russian who had been undefeated for years, including winning prior Olympic gold medals.  He was much favored.  Rulon, an underdog from the University of Nebraska, courageously turned the tide and shocked the experts by defeating the Russian.  You can look it up.

Miss Sugar proudly shared that I have been to the national championships for the Senior Olympics and the Senior World Games as a swimmer.  Somehow my accomplishments paled in comparison.  I am going to wait awhile before pulling out my Superbowl ring.


Too Close for Comfort

Sometimes, the more you get to know someone, the less you like them.

My previous post, Slow Start, was about a college classmate who did not act very friendly for years, but in the end became a great friend.

This blog is about a contrasting situation.

Larry was a receiver on the football team. We were both freshmen. We talked as we worked out in the weight room. (My freshman year I went from 178 lbs to 195 lbs — Don’t ask about my substantial progress since then). We talked as we walked together to the cafeteria. Larry was very earnest and sincere about being a good athlete.

Larry was eager to show what he could do. And to tell how well he played in high school. Larry exuded confidence.

We pledged the same fraternity. Other guys in our pledge class started calling Larry “Superman,” but with some sarcasm. (Put me in, Coach, I can do it!).

Very early on, as we hung out together, Larry told me personal stuff about his childhood and troubles at home. I could not reciprocate because I came from a secure family and had no tales of troubles. However, I thought he must consider me his new best friend to share so much personal, normally private, information.

He also told me about his relations with girls, including how to unsnap a bra with one hand and what the number of hooks signified concerning, eh, voluptuousness. Again, I could not reciprocate. I had no skills to teach him. I had no skills in that department period. Or experience. I certainly did not have any good stories about that topic or even knowledge.

As time went on, I started doubting some of the big talk. I started seeing that Larry told many people the same personal stories. I suspect he recited them like an actor might give many performances of the same part. Anyway, I was not special, I realized. I was probably not even a friend. I was more like a member of the audience. We audience members were just not in the theatre at the same time, but we were witnessing the same performance.

One thing that happened that year is that Larry did get a new college girlfriend who reportedly had lots of hooks on her bra. He told me more than I cared to know about, you know, intimacy with her. Again, I only listened. And really, if a guy cares about a girl, the locker room is not the place to talk about her.

Our sophomore year, Larry did not go out for football. I guess the coach had not listened carefully enough about how good Larry was. Our quarterback had to be content with some other, perhaps lesser, receivers. (The QB became a SuperBowl MVP a few years later, which is especially impressive because he did it without Larry. Come to think of it, he did it without me either — amazing!).

I contrast my experience with Larry to my experience with Mark, described in my previous post. Mark was hard to get to know. Larry was too easy to get to know — on the surface. I am reminded of the tortoise and the hare. Maybe that fable applies to friendships too.

Truisms: Big hat, few cows. Big smoke, little fire. Actions speak louder than words. Seeing is believing. If you tell everybody a secret, it is not a secret.

Football Season

What is the proper number of football games to watch in a given weekend?

I am trying to live a balanced life, so I pose this question to the people of America, seeking guidance.

Watching no games is un-American and unmanly.  Watching too many games could be deemed by one’s female wife as being an unhealthy waste of time.

Failing to watch televised games of teams to which one owes a duty of loyalty probably borders on immorality.  For example, my father-in-law lives in Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  Therefore, if the Cowboys are playing and I call to talk about the game at half-time, it is important that we have both been watching the game.  On one occasion in the past, my mother-in-law told me that she had to call him to come to the phone because he was outside filling the birdfeeders.  She might as well have told me that he was crocheting doilies and could not be disturbed.  Since that incident, I have frequently called in advance of Cowboy games in order to ensure that said father-in-law is aware of his obligation to watch.  I don’t want to hear that he got beat up by his neighbors when they asked if he saw the game and he did not know the score.  It is important to fit in with the other men who live in America.

Similarly, when the Broncos are playing, I like to get calls from kindred spirits.  This past Thursday, the Broncos played the Ravens.  My good friend Kirk, who lives in Wisconsin, appropriately called during the game.  Today the Packers are playing the Forty-Niners.  It is half-time.  They are tied 14-14.  I reciprocated by calling Kirk so that he knows that I am watching the Packers, out of respect for him.

The examples that I have used are about NFL teams.  The same principles apply to college football.  Those games are played on Saturdays and there are more teams.  Last week Nebraska played Wyoming in Lincoln.  My friend Tom, who is on the faculty of the University of Nebraska, actually attended the game.  Therefore, I was obligated to call him the next day to ask about the game.  It was fitting and proper that I do this.

Obviously, if one actually attends a game, that pretty much prevents watching other games on the same day.  However, if one is employing the magic of television, there really is no excuse to fail to watch all games involving one’s favorite teams.  I have explained to my wife, Sugar, that I have approximately twenty favorite teams.  It is a huge responsibility to monitor each of them, but it has to be done.

In addition, I am competing in Yahoo Sports College Pick Em.  Therefore, I must, in advance of each game, select not only the winner, but beat the point spread.  Even without betting money, my man card is at stake.

Sugar does not fully grasp the importance of football.  She is, after all, just a girl.  Her friends and relatives never ask her if she saw, or validate whether she is presently watching, a particular game, with the possible exception of being asked if she saw the half-time show for the Super Bowl.  That lack of accountability frees her up to pursue other activities.

She has got it easy.

OOOPS — half-time is over.  I have to get back to the Packers game in case Kirk calls me later.

Broncos Update

You have to read between the lines to catch the subtle hints that the Broncos are positioning to sign me to a handsome contract.  Let me point out what is obvious to me if not to you readers and football fans.

Von Miller has predicted a Superbowl victory.  Could that be based on improving the roster with, well, me?

The team is trying to get Elvis Dumervil to renegotiate his contract to make more room under the salary cap.  Why?  Duh!  To pay me, obviously!

D.J. Williams might be released, which would free up $6 million for the salary cap, which could be applied toward my contract.  Ah, hah!

As I observe this maneuvering, I grow more and more confident.  As I await that call from John Elway or Pat Bowlen, I am getting more and more excited.

It feels good to be wanted.

When one is delusional, life can be fun.  Even if you are not actually on the beach, you can still enjoy it if you think you are.

I better go work out.  I need to keep my weight up if I am going to be playing with the big boys.

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