I’m sitting in my living room watching the Seahawks play the Giants. Earlier this afternoon, I had several televisions tuned into the Lions and Dolphins fight it out as worked through my in-home physical therapy to rehab my knee after knee replacement. My Sunday will be complete later tonight as I’m glued in front of the television as the big game plays out – my beloved Packers vs. those dastardly Chicago Bears.
I periodically check my fantasy football stats. My team, Hooters Hellions, is 5-4 and I’m playing against the Screaming Squids, the first place team which is one game up on me at 6-3. Going into the match, I was a 10-point underdog as the Squids were projected to garner somewhere in the 115 point range for this week’s match ups while I could only line up about 105 projected points. I debated all week whether I should play Russell Wilson or my backup quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick was projected to score more fantasy points, but Russell Wilson can be a wild card any week…either dogging it or running up huge points. I went with the Badger alumni which somewhat explains why I’m spending my late Sunday afternoon caring about a football game that may otherwise be great background noise for a nap!
I’m feeling a little more comfortable after points for the noon games have been posted. The Squidmeister has a mere 20-point lead and only has two more players left to play. The Hellions, on the other hand, have four players competing in the 3:00 games and two of them are my power houses…my Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos defense! With halftime of the game nearing, I have cruised to a five-point lead over the Screaming Squids!
One might ask why a 58-year old grandma would spend her Sunday obsessing over a sport that is typically better suited for testosterone driven, beer drinking, high-fiving men. The truth is, football is laced through my DNA.
My earliest memories of my dad are of he and my grandpa sitting shoulder-to-shoulder screaming at the television on a Sunday afternoon. One moment they would be cheering loudly and loving their Green Bay Packers and the next they would be cursing at the television as Bart Starr got sacked. “Protection…where in the hell is the protection?”
My mother, on the other hand, was cool, calm and collected when she watched football. Right. If you were the fortunate person who drew the short straw and had to sit on the sofa next to her, you were darn sure going to walk away from the game bruised. My mom would fist up and spend the exciting moments of the game pummeling the knee of the person sitting next to her. Good memories.
I remember when I went to my son’s freshman parent-teacher conference. His social studies teacher (who was also the boy’s varsity basketball coach) confidently stated to me that it was obvious that my son had a strong male influence in his life. I thought to myself, “Hmmm…the boy is being raised by a strong single mom, but relatively no male influence,” but I just smiled at the guy. I raised my son to be sitting in front of ESPN on Sunday morning by 8:00 a.m. watching pre-pre-game. We took an hour off to go to church (and pray for our team) and were then back in front of the big screen (which was a 19” television until we hit the big time and got a 24”). While my football watching aerobics more resembled my mother’s, my son picked up the screaming/cheering at the tv screen genes that had been passed down through the generations.
I married a man who can take or leave football. Many are the games where the Packers score a clutch touchdown and I run to my husband with arm raised in a victorious high-five and I have to wake him up to return the air-clap! Really? What was I thinking when checking off my dating/marriage criteria? It was obviously NOT football season when I fell in love. Obviously!
So as I sit in quiet solitude in my living room screaming to Russell Wilson to just run the football in himself for the touchdown (and thus garnering myself additional fantasy football points) rather than hand it off to Marshawn Lynch, my husband questions why I care. Why do I care? Why do I care? I just look at him and smile.
How do I explain to him that I care because it’s in my genes? I can’t not care…I just can’t!
As I close this story, Hooter’s Hellions is leading the fantasy football match with the Screaming Squids 108.98 to 66.46. I can almost taste the victory!