Thursday, September 8, 2016

College Football

            I confess that I love college football. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Not playing it, but watching it on television and reading about it in the newspapers and on the Internet. I would have enjoyed playing it, except for the hitting part.
            Why do I enjoy (not playing) college football? Several reasons come to mind:

·      It reminds me of college, where I did not play football. “Reminds” is probably not the right word for the reconstructed fantasy version of my college experience, which in reality consisted mainly of 1) studying, 2) having hockey pucks shot at me, and 3) watching other people go out on dates. College as seen during televised games looks like fun, with happy guys surrounded by pretty girls and 30 seconds on academics glimpsed during halftime.
·      It’s good for the soul to feel a part of something larger than yourself, whether it’s Divine Creation, your favorite nation, or the kind of extended family you see in commercials for Olive Garden. Living in Gainesville and Ann Arbor, I am doubly blessed to feel part of the Gator Nation and whatever Michigan fans call themselves. I just hope they don’t play each other in a bowl game.
·      Football has rules that players pretty much follow, and when they don’t, someone throws a flag and their team is penalized. I know that this is usually the case from how outraged we all become when the referee blows a call. [Fill in your favorite example here.] Despite the mistakes, football gets it right more often than what we see or read in the news, and what we suspect goes unreported in the news. I like the sense of justice.
·      College football players are kids, and “only human.” They make mistakes. [Did any of you see the end of the Michigan – Michigan State game?] This is reassuring to those among us who make the occasional mistake. Of course, they are kids, and we adults should know better. But we don’t. They, on the other hand, are highly recruited athletes making mistakes in an enterprise for which they have been trained, while I’m an untrained husband, parent, grandparent, Internet user, and home handyman. I like college football’s surprising injustice when, because some kid screwed up, the best team doesn’t win.
·      College football provides an escape from reality. The coaches may not agree that it’s a simple game, but it’s certainly a lot simpler than finding peace in the Middle East, dealing with schizophrenia, defeating ISIS, raising a teenaged daughter, or opening a DVD. Turn on the game, and those things disappear. For a while.
·      Football games end. Football seasons end (though Kim doesn’t think so). Somebody wins and somebody loses. So it goes. This is unlike the messy quality of most of life outside of sports, where the most frequent grade is Incomplete. Of course, I may change my view on this once I am dead.
·      Cheerleaders
·      Butts in tight pants. This is actually the only thing that Kim likes about watching football, but she only enjoys it enough to watch for ten seconds. Does nothing for me.
·      College football gives guys something to talk about that is safer than politics and easier than our feelings.

            So don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your enjoyment of college football. Or eating chocolate. Reading mystery novels. Your second (or third) cup of coffee. Or drinking a Manhattan while watching “The Bachelorette” with your spouse. OK – maybe not “The Bachelorette” – you have to draw the line somewhere.

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