NFL Offseason 2011: A Comparison of Football Fans and "The Others"

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NFL Offseason 2011: A Comparison of Football Fans and
Matt Ludtke/Getty Images
The fans...

Greetings from the Frozen Tundra, friends.

I believe we, as football fans, all had some happy news this week in regard to the labor dispute. The NFL owners and players have agreed to mediation with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Both parties have two weeks before the end of the collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 pm on March 3, 2011. 

Two weeks...It's time to start talking.

With a pending lockout on the horizon, this fan of both the Green Bay Packers, and football in general, has started to check out other options. After all, there are allegedly other sports in the world that I could follow, if I chose to do so. 

However, when one makes such a life-altering decision, the main goal is to have a good fit. One must consider many things such as cost, distance and personality of the people you could potentially meet. Here are a few observations about "the others," from the slightly demented mind of a football fan. 

"Hey Jack, why don't you check out baseball?" I have been told on numerous occasions.  "Baseball is America's favorite pastime. You can have just as much fun watching a Brewers game as you do watching the Packers. And, the season goes on FOREVER."

To the people who have said this to me, I have snorted. Friends, for those of you who don't know me personally (which is probably quite a few, since not all of the people reading my articles are related to me. Nearly all are relatives, but not everyone), I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida for a few years during the time that sports first really entered into my conscience. 

Several family members helped to build Tropicana Field for the Rays. My stepdad, who was a welder, etched our names into the ironworks at Tropicana Field. Through school field trips, I attended MLB spring training games and received the weirdest sunburn I have ever had the pleasure of having.

If you are going to a baseball game with half an awning, please make sure that you are either all the way under the awning or not under the awning. I, a pigment-less Norwegian girl, was half under/half not under. Please believe that I was pasty white on one side and BRIGHT red on the other. Many comments were made on my behalf, much laughter ensued.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Baseball would seem like a natural fit, right?  There's a problem.

I had the pleasure of attending an Atlanta Braves baseball game with my beloved uncle, cousin and Manpig in 2001. My Aunt Chucky scored game tickets, which was much appreciated, as I had never been to a game before.  John Rocker had just left Atlanta, so I figured this was going to be a good game, due to the controversy he had caused prior to his departure. If I know very little about baseball, friends, I know even less about the unspoken fan etiquette that occurs during a game. 

For example, while watching the game, which I believe was against the Mets, one of the players did something well. I, to this day, can not tell you what the player did, as I don't know anything about baseball. The fans, including the Braves fans, CLAPPED. I sat there, dumbfounded with an $8 beer in hand, looking to Uncle Bruce and Cousin Andy for guidance as to WHY everyone was clapping. 

Manpig, who used to play baseball, had NO CLUE either, so as we are both football fans, an explanation was needed. Uncle Bruce, with the divine patience of a saint, spent nearly the rest of the game explaining WHY we should clap for the opposing team.

Can you imagine?

Here's the scenario: Aaron Rodgers is deep in the pocket. Jordy Nelson is on the 1-yard line, no defenders around him. It will be an easy touchdown. The game is on the line.  Aaron Rodgers pulls the hammer back and fires the ball. It is intercepted by Brian Urlacher. The Green Bay fans begin to clap and say, "Brian Urlacher just made an excellent play."

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

What the hell? Are you INSANE?! He just ruined a touchdown for the Packers! THE PACKERS! If a Packers fan had the audacity to even THINK something like that, they would never, EVER speak it out loud.

Let's say a Packers fan DID say something like that:  they would be given a good talking to about their lack of team spirit and probably be committed. Additionally, they would be cut off from all alcohol for probably the rest of the season. Period.

Do you see the difference between football and baseball yet? I don't think it would be a good fit for me. 

On to basketball...

Milwaukee has the Bucks, but I am closer to Minnesota so I COULD chose to follow the Timberwolves. Basketball, to me, is just as foreign as baseball. The distance and cost factor for me to follow the Timberwolves could be addressed simply, but again, I am from Wisconsin. Could I, in good conscience, follow a Minnesota team without fear that I would be kicked out of the Packer Nation?

I'm not toying with fate, people. End of discussion.

On to golf...Do I even really need to go there, friends? As a child, we only had two television stations. Golf seemed to be on every Sunday that football wasn't on. I would curl up, face down on the floor, and nap whenever golf was on. 

To this day, watching golf for me means putting on my sassy fat pants and hitting the floor. I have noticed that my younger relatives do the same thing. If you want to put my family to sleep, turn the television on to watch golf. Instant nap time.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
This could be me if the lockout happens...

I do enjoy playing golf, however. Driving the cart is my all-time favorite thing to do on the golf course, besides wearing some really awesome plaid golf pants, much to the amusement of family and friends.

I believe the main reason I enjoy driving the cart is due to the fact that I have the great ability of being HIT by golf balls nearly every time I have gone golfing. I believe it is because I am so tall so I make a good target. I would like to believe that the people I have gone golfing with are not trying to aim AT me, but this cannot be proven without a shadow of a doubt.

So, what else does that leave?  I could become a soccer hooligan, I suppose. They drink beer and get kind of crazy, so that could be a good fit, personality wise. The soccer hooligans might enjoy my instigation skills.

However, the only team that I know of in soccer is Manchester United as soccer is not a sport that has a large following in Wisconsin. We have snow here, friends, which might make finding a white ball difficult on a snow covered field. I'm just saying...

And, for those of you who don't know, the Glazer family, who owns Manchester United, also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Anyone who has read my past articles knows of my "affair" with the Buccaneers (aka, Packers fan, Bucs fan, Packers fan—thank you, Aaron Rodgers). It has not been a monogamous relationship until this point. I do not need to be tempted.

So, I'm sticking with football. Gilbert Brown is the coach of the La Crosse Spartans, which is a team in the indoor football league. That might just take some of the edge off on my football depression.

If that doesn't work, I could potentially seek refuge while watching the La Crosse Loggers play in the Northwoods Summer League. And if that doesn't work, I may have to go chase a few golf balls around, while ducking and dodging. I believe the saying goes, "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" right?  

As long as I don't become a soccer hooligan, we should all be just fine.   

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