"Football isn't a matter of life or death � it's more serious than that!"
That's really true. Each fall the devoted fans � and I include the graying groupies among them � become screaming sophomores again.
I don't understand what it is about the sport, but howling zealots go berserk over young participants they don't even know.
The couch potatoes make all the moves in their minds: the quarterback sneaks, the screen passes, the end-arounds and the off-tackle slants, etc. � but they couldn't run one if their life depended on it.
The only thing they can do is make a dash for the refrigerator for another beer during a time-out.
It's a phenomenon, that's what it is. No wonder the pros are paid millions to entertain us. On Saturdays, though, it's the college kids who keep our eyes glued to the tube or sit on cold seats while the gladiators beat each other up on the gridiron. It's the Christians versus the lions again.
We pay outlandish prices to get into the stadium, to buy school-color mums and stand in line to purchase hot dogs and peanuts which we eat only at ball games.
Some nuts paint their bodies or wear funny costumes, which include those ridiculous cheese hats. The bands play, the crowd roars and the cheerleaders wiggle. It's all part of the pageantry which we've come to expect.
And loyalty abounds. No matter if they win or lose, the faithful followers of the Minnesota Vikings and the Nebraska Cornhuskers don their favorite colors and declare: "We'll get 'em next year!"
I readily admit that I'm an enthusiast, too. Something causes me to turn to the sports page first, to read about a game which I'd seen with my own eyes.
I forget about hurricanes, gas prices, politics and stuff that really matters. Why do I do it?
It's escapism, I guess. It's a lot easier to be for a team enroute to the Dome than it is to worry about how many Iraqis were killed this week. To argue the merits of Division I and Division II instead of whether a Supreme Court nominee will be conservative or liberal.
Thank goodness, Phyllis likes pro football, too. She's a real buff when it comes to the New England Patriots. We even visited the stadium where they play.
Of course, I think Adam Vinatieri � a native South Dakotan � is responsible for her staunchness, but Coach Bill Belichick � in the rumpled gray sweat shirt � has a lot to do with it. Besides that, she also has a warm spot in her heart for Tedy Bruschi because she likes his wife.
At any rate, we are football afficianados, even though we don't exactly know why. Yes, we enjoy Monday Night Football, and I especially get a kick out of it when Phyllis argues with John Madden over a disputed call.
It shows that she understands the game � and I don't have to worry about staying up late to watch it because she is with me.
� 2005 Robert F. Karolevitz