A.P. And Me: Our Rookie Year

Carrie DaklinCorrespondent IMay 13, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 04:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes against the San Diego Chargers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 4, 2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peterson set two NFL records as he rushed for 296 yards setting the single game rushing record and marks the first time a player has rushed for two 200 yard games in the same season. The Vikings defeated the Chargers 35-17.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

I admit it.

I am a neophyte, new-bee, novice to the world of the NFL. Prior to the Vikings/Chargers game a couple of years ago, my NFL knowledge was limited to knowing that a/Fran Tarkenton had done a shampoo commercial when I was young, and b/ Joe Namath had worn panty-hose. I didn't grow up in a Sports-loving family (unless you count the Kentucky Derby--something we celebrated simply because we had horses and it usually fell on my father's birthday). I did go to school with Giuseppe Harris (brother of the famed, Franco) and graduated from the same high school as Sam Bradford, last year's Heisman winner, and one year in college I even had Thanksgiving dinner at the then-current owner of the Vikes. So one would think I had some knowledge, as minute as it might be, of the NFL.

Not so.

All those experiences were wasted on the oblivion, the, dare I say, indifference, of someone who would rather floss than watch a game: Football, schmootball. All I knew was that it took my boyfriend away from me on Sundays, all day Sundays, and I hardly saw him as it was.

I now wear purple.

I have season tickets and I love the game. But I am a decidedly junior member of the "I love football" club. I still struggle over calls. I still wonder what the flags are for--though I am getting better at yelling: That was so not a false-start...ummm....offsides...I mean, really sweetie, I don't get the difference between a safety and a touchback, can you help me? (This to my 16 year old son, who hits me with his soft pretzel and tells me to be quiet).

A friend of mine who works for the Vikes gave me tickets to that first game where A.P. set the rushing record, and I was hooked. Was it the smell of the Dome-dogs, the day with my boy, the fact that I had witnessed history? I don't know. Call it a Cosmic Alliance. Like a kid on the first day of school, I pledged my allegiance. I don't know now whether to love that friend or hate him. After that game, I went and bought a big screen T.V.and now rush home on Sunday afternoons to watch the rest of the games. I sport Vikings T-shirts (this from a woman who so loves dresses, that was all I ever wore), sweat shirts, jackets and winter gloves. I upgraded my cable to include the NFL channel. This is an expensive habit.

I know enough now that I can fake a conversation with a group of die-hard fans (Yeah, Tom Brady is a bit arrogant, nice to see Cassel get a chance, can't wait to see him in pre-season; or, you know Sanchez just might be the answer to the Jets prayers; or even better, and far less likely to spark a conversation I won't know how to finish, Touchdown!) before I excuse myself to the Ladie's Room to take a deep sigh, adjust my purple sweatshirt, re-apply lip gloss, and go back out there to face...the knowledgeable, the quotable, the...okay, well, let's just say it, the intoxicated, once again.

This year was my first ever draft party. Again, tickets were provided by a beneficent friend. I took my boy and tried to get him to explain some of what was going on. Don't get me wrong, I know what the Draft is and I get the basics of how it works, but it occurred to me that is is a lot like playing chess and I wanted someone to explain the nuances of that to me. Let's just say that he, um, well, declined, moved up a row from where I was sitting and "lost himself" in waiting for Green Bay's Pick. When Harvin's name was announced, I cheered like everyone else, then ran home to read all the sports articles on what it all meant.

Like April and rain, July and Mankato go hand and hand.  Look for me.  I'll be the one in the stands, yelling, "Great play!" and re-applying lipgloss.