Monday, December 19, 2011

Are you ready for some Football?

Tonight, the San Francisco 49ers play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. Why do I know this?  Because I love football.
One of the reasons autumn is my favorite time of the year is football.  Few things please me more than the prospect of a Sunday spent in front of the television watching football and knitting. Football and knitting are perfect partners.  It takes a little over 3 hours to play a 60 minute game, so there is lots of time when you don’t really need to watch. The play by play announcers generally do a great job of describing the action, so you can follow much of the game with your ears while you eyes and hands are busy with your knitting. If you do happen to miss a crucial play because you were, say, turning a cable, you’ll get to see it on instant replay.
My father was a football fan (he loved the Rams when they were in LA), but it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I caught the bug.  I had a succession of boyfriends who spent Sundays devoted to football.

Back in those days I bore a disturbing resemblance to Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride- I was perfectly willing to shape my preferences to match those of the man of the year. Backpacking? Sure. Run a 10K? Count me in. Play darts in grungy bars? Sounds good. Times have changed.

An appreciation for NFL football (along with single malt scotch and great wine) has stayed with me. I have no interest in the game at the college level - it is professional football that floats my boat.
I came to the game in the 1980’s while living in San Francisco.  That was a great time to be a 49er fan.  Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig – all under the direction of Bill Walsh – the Niners were the dominant team of the decade. In the years since, the team has had its highs and lows. There have been many years where the celebrations were few and far between. This year has been the best year in a very long time. Under the leadership of Jim Harbaugh, we are 10-3 going into tonight’s game.
What is it about football that is so captivating?  I love the physicality of the game. I love that football requires both power and control.  I love the intricacy of the game. The best players are highly intelligent, analytical, and quick decision makers. I love the emotion of the game – the struggle, the drama, the elation. And I love that the emotion is collective. The fans are part of the game.
I also like the toned butts in those uniforms.  They don’t call them tight ends for nothing.
There are three games left in the regular season, and then we go to the playoffs. I’ll be scheduling my life around 49er games for at least another month.
If you need to reach me this evening, you know where to find me.

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