Friday, January 26, 2007

I come from a really weird family: none of the men in my family (and I mean NONE) are into football. Don't get me wrong, I'm talking about MEN. It's just that the sports I grew up playing/watching/caring about/understanding at all are things like hiking, biking, camping, skiing, martial arts. Individual sports. With the exception of hockey (which we didn't care about either, till the Avs officially became an NHL entity in 1995) and the olympics, we've NEVER watched sports. Furthermore, we've only watched one single NFL game as a family: the 97' Superbowl, which the Broncos won.

I remember because 1) my dad was involved in some casual pool at work and had bet something on the outcome of the game and 2) My 6th grade science teacher made my whole class guess the final score, and the winner (me, coincidentally) won the candy of their choice. We both had vested interests, but I mostly watched for the commercials.

Stephen, on the other hand, watches because he (like most men) enjoys and comprehends the sport of American Football. He organizes this pick em' league on every year which I, as the girlfriend, was invited to participate in. I think he invited me because he sort of had to, and because I'm usually bored at work. He certainly didn't think I'd be any good at it (given that I usually have to ask if the team you're babbling about plays football or baseball and am often met with the indignant response that they in fact play basketball), but I actually came 2 or 3 points away from beating him.

You men out there probably predict the winners based on the skill, players, and history of the teams involved, and possibly on something called a "spread". I don't know any of that stuff. I know we used to have a guy named John Elway on our team, and he was pretty good, apparently. And that Reggie Bush is not the quarterback for the Saints (but he is one good lookin cat). I also have a very general understanding of how to score points, and that it's important not to drop the ball/try to catch the ball. Also, there are "downs", 4 of them (whatever that means), represented by a digitally projected yellow line, and Stephen gets upset when we don't "get them". I'm sure you can imagine that I'm a bit taxing to try and watch a game with. For example, here is a conversation with Stephen during the recent Colts/Patriots game:

Rachel: I can't tell what's going on.
Stephen: [pause] Well, the Colts just... (here he lapses into technical jargon, which to me sounds like "wah wah wah wah Colts wah wah wah Manning wah WAH WAH wah Patriots wah wah")
R: No, I mean, they're all piled up. I can't tell them apart.
S: The colts are wearing blue.
R: They're BOTH wearing blue. When they're all jumbled up like that [mumbling]... I can' tell them apart because the shades of blue are-
S: [interrupting] The colts are wearing blue shirts. The patriots are wearing white shirts.
R: [impatiently] I know what they're wearing, I'm just saying when they're all running around so close together I just can't tell who's who. So much BLUE.
S: I don't understand the problem. The colts are in blue shirts, and-
R: Never mind! [crosses arms].

That's one of our more productive football related exchanges. So how did I almost beat Stephen? My strategy: COLORS. That's right. I pick teams based on which colors are most aesthetically pleasing when placed next to each other, and which colors I inherently do not like. From time to time, I will pick because "I've heard that city is very nice in the fall" or "Someone told me that so-and-so on that team is a nice guy" or "I don't care if they suck, I just like them". Through this method I've learned the name, location, mascot, logo, and color theme of almost all the teams in the NFL and can even accurately identify the sport which any given team plays. It's amazing how the color method (patent pending!) has worked for me, though it's kind of a toss-up when I'm faced with a match up of two teams with very similar colors, such as the Colts/Patriots game mentioned above. For the record, I picked the colts in that game, even though I couldn't tell who they were for basically the whole game. Whatever. Give me a beer and I'll watch happily.

So if you want to be a winner on February the 4th, follow my advice and root for the Chicago Bears over the Indianapolis Colts (or as I like to say, Indianapolis 'corns, as in unicorns. Actually, I don't say that. I just made it up just now. I'm hilarious.). Why, you ask? I have many good reasons:

1. Dark blue and orange is better than sky blue and white.
2. The bears won the Superbowl in 1985, my birth year. How awesome would it be if they won again, 21 years later?!? It would be most awesome indeed.
3. Rex is the greatest name for a white guy, especially one of the quarterback persuasion.
4. Chicago is a great city with a lot of history and cool architecture.
5. Lets think real-life match up. Wild, ferocious bear versus scrawny little baby horse. That cute little horse can barely stand. The bear eats the colt, and it's sad, but that's the way life goes.
6. Peyton Manning acts like a petulant child when things don't go well for the Colts. Watch him on the sidelines, throwing a tantrum, waving his arms and pouting like a 4 year old. Yuck.
7. The logo in the middle of the Colts field is a big helmet. Seriously, guys. ALL the teams wear helmets. 0 points for creativity!
8. Another important team, the Cubs (baseball, for those of you ig'nrant fools who don't know), are based in Chicago... so, more points for Chicago. Because I like the Cubs. But... I hate the Blackhawks. Yeah, it doesn't really make sense, actually.

Just look at that little cutie! What kind of sick bastard doesn't love his little angry face?!? He thinks he's so tough, the rascal!

Go Bears!


Thom G. said...

Having played the game (fullback in a wishbone offense - ask Stephen), you get an exceptional understanding of the game; that you can watch and have fun with it is fantastic. And I certainly like your system for picking teams; makes sense to me.

Melissa said...

I love it! I was in marching band all 4 years of high school and still don't completely get the game. Wes keeps trying to explain it to me, but it's not use. The only games I really get into are the Texas A&M games, my brother's alma mater. Those games are so packed with pride and tradition, it's almost impossible not to get sucked in.

Beth said...

Hi Rachel, I think it's a very sensible approach. I pick footy matches in much the same way although even though I played girls football I still have no idea what the off side rule is all about. (Even with explanations involving sauce bottles and the salt!)

RachelRenae said...

Yay! I've always thought my methods were sensible, but it's nice to hear it from other people.

Beth: sauce bottles and salt? What?!?

Thom G. said...

R&R, have you ever seen the movie "Bend it Like Beckham?" A dad tries to explain football (soccer) to his wife using bottled sauces and the salt and pepper shakers on the table.

RachelRenae said...

OOH! hahaha Yes, I get it now. Very good.