Ridiculous Things They Do In Football (That Men Don’t Care About or Even Notice)
To clarify, I’m talking about the American Football season. When the weather turns “crisp” outside, and many men barely notice because they are in their “man caves” glued to the big screen TV, watching “the game.” I should mention that “the game” can include professional football, college football, or even high school football. It also includes the commentaries on said games, and documentaries about football players and coaches. In other words, you could watch something football-related 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will state openly that I am completely indifferent to the game, the outcome, and the players. So, as I sit and “watch” the game with my husband, I have turned over my mind to observing the activities from the perspective of a social anthropologist. Here are a few of my interpretations. Keep in mind; it’s still early in the season as I write this. There are months ahead of us before Super Bowl, when everything ends for about 5 minutes, before starting up again. But I digress.
If you are still with me, and plan to read on, keep in mind that I am not at all concerned with what is “actually” going on, or the “rules” of the game. I am merely observing the action and recording my impressions, just as a scientist might do in the field, observing the interactions of some other species. So, if you decide to comment, the fact that I don’t know the “actual” name of a play, etc., is not the point of this hub. Please keep that in mind.
The Quarterback is the “star” of the show. All eyes are on him. He calls the plays, and controls the ball. I could go on and on about the ball itself, and the completely weird shape (e.g., isn’t a ball supposed to be round, and what about those completely anachronistic laces?), but I’d rather concentrate on the players for now.
So, the Quarterback is in charge. He gets the ball from somebody standing in front of him, who throws the ball backward from the ground, between his legs. Really? Is this the most effective way to get things started? No woman would think of a game where she bends forward and prominently displays her backside to the person in charge, spreads her legs, and throws the ball backward through them. Just strange.
But before that, you have the Quarterback barking out what sound like orders or commands. But not using anything close to understandable English sentences. He doesn’t say, “Throw me the ball NOW.” He says things like, “Omaha,” or “Green 80.” Then at some seemingly random point, the ball is thrown to him.
And there is another weird thing that happens. The Quarterback licks his fingers. Repeatedly, over and over, throughout the game. Right through his facemask. In a word – germs. He takes the ball and throws it, and it’s caught by another player. There are no antibacterial wipes out on the field. Yuck. Just yuck.
There is an expression, “Don’t do it if you can’t handle the celebration?” Well, it seems to be very relevant when it comes to football. Whenever a player does something good, they start hitting him. His own team! Over and over. A slap on the head. A swat on the butt. I have even seen two players come running towards one another, jump into the air, and crash into each other. All this is meant as a form of congratulations. It looks more like assault and battery to me.
Then there is this whole “thing” around scoring a touchdown. The player who takes the ball across the goal line gets to perform some type of celebratory movement. I have seen players pounding their chests like gorillas, jump up into the stands with the spectators, and even do a River Dance. But Heaven forbid that a player might like to kneel down and pray, or give thanks to God. That would be, well, just “wrong” in our politically correct world.
Before I continue, I shall remind you that “fan” is, in fact, short for fanatic (marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion). Football fans can be, shall we say, “intense” in their displays of support for their favorite teams. It is not uncommon to see someone in the stands with body paint on their upper torso, in their team colors. Hundreds of people twirling around brightly colored dish towels (known as “rally” towels) are another favorite.
There are all kinds of strange stuff that fans bring to games. For example, I have seen people holding a big letter “D” alongside others holding an actual piece of picket fence. That would mean, of course, Defense (D + Fence). As in, the defense should do something. What exactly they should do is entirely unclear to me. I should keep in mind that much of what you seen in the audience can be attributed to the consumption of “adult” beverages. So I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.
Other Strange Behaviors
We all know the expression, “Boys will be boys.” Mainly this phrase is used to excuse all sorts of rude, crude, and sometimes disgusting habits of the male of the species. Don’t get me wrong: females have their share of bizarre personal habits. It’s just not the focus of this hub.
Now, back to our boys. What is it with chewing on the mouthpiece guard? Dangling it out of their mouth, sucking on it, and generally playing with it in full view. It’s almost enough to make me lose my lunch. Then there is chewing gum with the mouth wide open. And spitting. Lots of spitting. Not discrete little wisps of saliva from all that mouthpiece guard chewing. No. Big, juicy, stringy clumps of spit. Televised nationally for all to see.
Then there is this strange ritual when the ball is kicked down the field. Not all the time, just on certain plays. Since I don’t understand all the rules (not much beyond what a touchdown looks like), it looks very odd to me. Basically, the ball is kicked, and it lands down the field. No player makes any attempt to catch it. In fact, they swarm to where it lands, and watch it intently until it comes to a rest. Sometimes there are a half dozen or more players, surrounding the ball, just watching it. Are they afraid it's going to get away? Why doesn’t anyone try to catch it? What does it all mean?
These are just a few of the odd behaviors I have observed while “watching” football. I suppose that if I plan to continue watching the game, I should probably learn more about the rules. Then again, it’s somewhat fun just observing all the strange antics, without understanding the true meaning. Like a foreigner in a strange land, making up my own interpretations until a local sets me straight.