Greetings from the Frozen Tundra, my friends!
I know, I know...It's been a short-time since I have written, but I had a conversation today that really filled my hyphenated-name, sassy self with irritation. And, yes, it was related to football.
"What do you know about football? You're a girl..."
Grr...them's fighting words, my friend.
I was born in Wisconsin, as I have stated many times before. And since I was born in Wisconsin, to a mother who has been a devout Packer fan for the duration of my lifetime, I was brought up spending Sunday afternoons watching football. One of my earliest childhood memories is laying on the floor, watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, of all teams. And while my Mom was a devout Packers fan, my Dad to this day remains a shameless football whore. Whoever is winning, my Dad is their most vocal fan, with the exception of the Green Bay Packers.
This has recently changed, however, when he discovered his love for the Minnesota Vikings. I probably don't have to go into much discussion about the 2010-2011 Minnesota Vikings...
So, yes...I love football. I admit that I don't watch football like guys watch football. Manpig, my husband, watches football like a guy: "Did you see that pass protection? What about that slant play? You call that a penalty? I'd show you a penalty if I was playing, I tell you what..." When I watch football?
"Look at that pass! What amazing athleticism!"
"And what kind of pass was that, Jackie?" Manpig will ask.
"I dunno...A good one?"
Yeah, I'm not one of these people who pretend to know what is going on all the time. And I'm not even going to attempt to break down things such as the draft, free agency or fantasy football. I embarrass myself enough, thanks.
So, during the course of the "what do you know about football since you are a girl" conversation today, I began to think about how some women are completely clueless about football. One of my dear friends, who is absolutely brilliant, made a comment about one time "driving past Packer Stadium..." After I peeled myself off the floor, I nearly shrieked, "LAMBEAU!" while throwing down some "Matrix" style moves at her. She still doesn't remember the name, and it hurts me every single time.
It is time, my friends, to address the football-challenged in our midst. While some guys, no one who I know I might add, may not be fans of football, a lot of the women I know need a little education about what football is, and what it means to be an effective fan.
This Is Football...The Team Colors Don't Have to Match
This one goes out to the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins. Yes, orange is a horrific color to try to match up with any other color (or so I have been told). And yes, if you are trying to be a fan of a team, you may not like their colors, but you need to wear them with pride. If you are trying to match your fandom to your color wheel, you may have issues. This is not football related.
This Is Football...The Players Probably Sweat A Little During the Game
Football is war, members of the "gentler" gender. The men who play football are fighting a battle not only to ensure that their names are mentioned by fans for generations, but also for football glory (aka the Super Bowl). If you watch ONE show on the NFL Network, you will hear at least one voice over saying things like, "marching down the field," "hellish conditions," or "leading his men into battle."
People who are at war sweat a little bit sometimes. The players are probably not commenting to each other, "Dude, you need to shower" during the game. There are more important things to worry about, like winning the game/battle. And if they are sweating, you are not going to get close enough to them to really notice and there is no such thing as smell-o-vision as of this writing. Don't let a little sweat deter you from enjoying a game.
This Is Football...And No, Those Are Not Leotards
Yeah, yeah, yeah...One of the most common comments I hear from guys is "You just watch football to see guys in tight pants." And the correct answer to that is, "NO." Yes, football uniforms are tight. Yes, football players are huge, burly men squeezed into tight uniforms. However, ladies, keep in mind that a man could be a big, burly, awesome football player one day and turn into a couch-napping, Outdoor Channel watching, beer drinking Manpig the next. You have been warned.
This Is Football...You Shall Be Given Great Rewards (Sometimes)
No, you will not receive monetary rewards for being a football fan, but you can reap the benefits of being a fan. Case in point: being a fan of the Green Bay Packers last year. The Packers were the hot team in the preseason and into the first few weeks of the regular season. Then, the injuries started. Throughout the 2010-2011 season, the Packers faced extreme odds due to injuries to key starters such as Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett, amongst others.
Yet, they made it to the playoffs. They destroyed the competition to make it to the Super Bowl. And they won the Super Bowl against a damn good team. And when one of your parents is a Vikings fan? Oh, that Super Bowl win will remain one of those special days, like your high school/college graduation or your wedding day, where you fondly remember how you called your father and discovered that he refused to answer the phone for a week... Ahh, memories.
Talking smack is a great reward, my friend. If you effectively learn to talk smack, you must also learn to use sarcasm as a weapon: "Oh, yes, I am certain that the Vikings will go to the Super Bowl...perhaps when Obama grounds all the planes in Green Bay..." You get the idea. Verbal warfare!
This Is Football...In The Event of a Lockout, Please Go To Your Nearest Awards/Reality Show
Yes, this is how some women know who football players are, I'm afraid. Clay Matthews, during the Lockout, seemed to appear at nearly every awards program with the exception of the Upper Beaver Creek Lutheran Ice Cream Social Program. Country Music Awards, Grammy's, Leno...He was a busy dude.
Clay Matthews turned from a beast on the football field into a self-marketing machine. He got his name out there to people who don't normally watch football, therefore increasing his jersey sales. On the flip side, Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers went on "Dancing With the Stars." He also built a non-football related fanbase. You should probably already know who these two men are...
This Is Football...You Live in Wisconsin. You Are Legally Obligated to Name Your Firstborn After a Packer
"Atari Jermichael Kadlec! Don't make me turn this car around!"
Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
I'm kidding, just kidding.
Seriously, if you are in Wisconsin, you are given a green and gold ticket for life. You know the players and feel like they are family. You yell at them on the television, therefore, you must also speak to them if you see them at a fan-related event. If you only know Brett Favre, you should probably update your input: you need to know who Aaron Rodgers is.
Hint: he's the quarterback, the man who throws the ball.
With this handy guide, you are well on your way to being a fan of football! Enjoy!