When I was in high school and college I had no use for the game itself. My attendance was purely as a social event and I depended heavily on the cheerleaders to tell me when to yell, stand up, chant or boo.
It wasn’t until I was married that I was forced to get interested in football lest I spend the season alone in a separate room reading a book.
Play by play my husband began to educate me on the rules, hand signals and penalties of the games. During “Football 101” I learned that there was no such thing as the 55 yard line. Gradually I began to watch the broadcasts with some interest.
Although my knowledge was limited, it helped to make viewing the games more palatable. And I was even getting to be on the same page as the officials on certain calls.
One game in particular was the catalyst for what became my obsession with football. It was the Washington Redskins vs the Dallas Cowboys. Sonny Jurgensen was the quarterback for the Skins and a crucial touchdown had been called back. The commentators felt the Redskins had been robbed, adamantly disagreeing with the judge. So one of them said, “Let’s take the camera down on the field and see what Jurgensen’s reaction is to the call back.”
As the camera zoomed in on Sonny, there he was in the middle of the field making an obscene gesture with his hand … and I don’t mean flipping the bird. Being a little naïve back in those days, I was curious as to which hand signal he was using. And also wondering why he was the one giving a hand signal at all. My ignorance caused my husband to double over with laughter. So once again he had to educate me.
While I was certainly shocked, I was also intrigued that this “role model” could get away with such antics in such poor taste. There he was, in front of thousands of people, not to mention the enormous number of fans watching at home, displaying some pretty unsavory behavior. I don’t recall if a fine was imposed or not, but it really didn’t matter as the harm had already been done.
I must admit that this tasteless action did not deter my passion for football but instead fueled it. I wondered what would come next. (BTW, the Redskins beat the Cowboys 34 to 31.)
I’m not completely certain how it is that I became such a Cowboy’s addict but it seemed to happen all of a sudden…no matter where we lived, they were my team.
While residing in New Jersey for a few years, my husband threw his allegiance (from the St. Louis Cardinals) to the Giants. I remember one game between the Giants and my Boys where Dallas won the game and I was so obnoxious over the win that we got into a big argument and went to bed mad. Now how silly is that? Surely there’s some kind of hand signal to describe it.
And now, after three sorry, depressing seasons of 8-8, a ray of hope has shone down on Dallas fans…and I head the top of that list. At this writing their record is 6-2!!!
I suppose my enthusiasm dates back some forty years. We lived in St. Louis at the time and I always cooked the Thanksgiving Dinner for the family. They would all gather in the family room downstairs while I slaved away, upstairs, in the kitchen. Unbeknownst to them, I was grateful for the solidarity as I had my own little TV on the kitchen counter.
Then as now, the Cowboys were one of the teams featured on Turkey Day and I was hard pressed to baste the bird lest I’d miss a crucial play. Everyone in the house was yelling and screaming for the then St. Louis Cardinals while I quietly did hand springs when the Cowboys would score. Had my secret come out I would no doubt have been banished from the clan.
New terms and plays have been added to the sport pretty recently. Like a year ago or so, the announcers started referring to OTA’s. Hadn’t a clue what that meant and it took way too long for it to be defined … they just kept saying OTA’s this and OTA’s that. Turns out it means Organized Team Activities … turns out that means to practice when it’s not time to. Haven’t heard that term but maybe once this season.
Then there’s the “bubble screen” which cropped up this year. To date there’s been no understandable definition for it but there it is, anyway.
And my personal favorite is this formation known as the “pistol.” Football has already brought out the big guns via the “shot gun.” This sudden need for a “pistol” confuses me.
But my penchant for the sport continues … to include sitting on the edge of my seat while listening to Troy Aikman do the color commentary on some of the match ups. I find his repetition of the phrase “I mean” and the words “obviously” and “clearly” endearing. Others might find it annoying.
For those of you reading this and having very little interest in football, I have only one phrase for you … “And how ‘bout them Cowboys?” (And one word from one QB, “Omaha!”)