Football is not a game but a religion, a metaphysical island of fundamental truth in a highly verbalized, disguised society, a throwback of 30,000 generations of anthropological time. ~Arnold Mandell
Summer isn't yet over but Fall isn't quite here. We're kind of in limbo, seasonally speaking. But it is actually the most wonderful time of the year, for today, football season began. It is the first step towards summer's end. School just started, the sun is showing itself less and less, clouds dominate the sky and the yearly family and friends football pool is officially on.
Every Saturday will become filled with the urgent rush to get all chores and to do lists completed because every Sunday will be come sacred. Where you set your alarm clock to be sure you have enough time to get set up on the couch where you will spend the remainder of the day. Or if your team isn't being shown on regular TV, you haul your tired ass to a bar where you will wash down hashbrowns and eggs with too many bloody mary's. Either way, the whole day, or at least for the next 8 hours, you live and breathe football. Trips to the bathroom or for a smoke are timed perfectly for commercials. Foods are ordered in and by delivery. Half-time is left with just enough time to call your friends and family to discuss the first half highs and lows yet still leaves you rushing back to the couch to catch the beginning of the 3rd quarter, hopeful that the short rest gives your team the undeniable urge to win it for you.
As your team volleys back and forth between injuries, sacks, dropped balls, victory runs and amazing catches, you look hard at the football pool spreadsheet of picks. If you are victorious, will this win put you in the lead, tie you with your arch-rival, leave you bummed cuz you're dead last? Finally, in the last game of the day when the game clock hits 0 seconds, win or lose, there is a sense of accomplishment. You have vast new knowledge of each team and how they rank that week. Then you start thinking about next weeks game and discuss the possible outcomes.
I don't know why I like football and I have gone over this many times it my mind. The short season, 17 weeks, 1 day per week (usually), is easy to follow. The excitement of those few weeks is electric because every single game counts. Playoffs lead to the most celebrated should-be holiday of every year - the super bowl. Even the rules of the game itself can be caught onto easily. There's a fierce competitiveness that surfaces - people and bars are choreographed into team colors and paraphenalia extravaganzas. Plus, the fact that these players don't mind being clobbered over and over is almost like you have to keep seeing it to believe it. Thank you to replays, we can re-live those important game moments.
When it really comes down to it though, football season rules because as the winter months set in and we are homebound and wrapped up warm next to our heaters, for 17 weeks straight, we are in continual close touch with our friends and family members who are in the football pool. The texting, emails and phone calls go overboard as we send messages to eachother wishing luck or talking shit. So tonight, as tradition called for, we spent the opening night of football, eating sliders, drinking lemon drops, lounging on the couch and ending the night with our first win. Let the season begin!