Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Football 101

My son, Jackson, has been playing football for the past few months. Austin never played so this is my first experience with football. Actually, scratch that. My first experience with football was when I dated my high school boyfriend, Don. And by "dated", I mean, my girlfriends and I sat on picnic tables and froze our butts off while our boyfriends ran around the park, throwing a football and jumping on each other every Friday night.

So, I've been watching my son's games this year with very little interest. I spend my time trying to spot his number amid the jumble of boys on the field. I've had no idea what the boys were doing out there, nor have I cared. I've been content to look on in oblivion, however, the football-crazed fans in the bleachers feel this need to recruit me to their side explain the game to me. It's not that I'm against painting my face and drinking beer and yelling obscenities at refs, but there's only so much room in my brain and if I have to memorize football rules, then I'll probably forget my kids' names and I have a hard enough time getting the right name out already. "AuSavaJackson!"

"See Dawn, what your son did there is he broke through the line and sacked the quarterback. That means he ran past all those guys and knocked down that guy with the ball before he could pass (that means throw) it to a receiver. Did you know the term "quarterback sack" was first used by Hall of Famer, Deacon Jones? Dawn? Dawn?"

"I'm sorry. Did you say something?"

If you don't want to be forced to learn the game, do not let them see the glazed expression in your eyes because that just makes football nuts want to explain things to you in more detail. Instead, pretend to have a clue what's going on. When everyone else cheers, clap! When people stand up and shout, join them! When people look puzzled and start asking each other what just happened, loudly shout, "Aha! See? Even football fanatics don't understand this stupid game!" I mean, look confused and mumble something like, "I'm not sure what just happened," then look intently in the direction of the field as if you're trying to overhear what the refs are saying.

This is what I've learned so far (despite my most earnest attempts to ignore all the explanations.) If you don't understand football and for some deranged reason, want to know what it's all about, read on. Because I'm just so awesome and I love pleasing my readers, I'll enlighten you with my extensive football knowledge.

The game is played on a field that's 100 yards long and, hmmm, I don't really know how many yards wide it is, but it doesn't matter because the players only run back and forth across the width of the field to get drinks of Gatorade and to be slapped on the helmet and the butt by their coaches. There are white stripes every 5 yards that run the length of the field.

The whole idea of the game is for the team to move the ball down the length of the field. They're given 4 chances to move the ball 10 yards. They call these chances downs just to make things more complicated. The white stripes let you know how far they've moved the ball. Plus, they're helpful when you're trying to point out which player is your son. "He's the one standing there hugging that other player on the 40 yard line."

At each end of the field are end zones. The end zones are there so the players have a place to dance after making a touchdown. The end zone is also the zoned-out look that crosses my face at the end of the fourth inning.

A football game is divided into four, 15 minute long, quarters, but football games last about two hours. Now, I'm not mathy, but even I know that doesn't add up. The reason is because they stop the clock everytime someone drops the ball, picks up the ball, kicks the balls, looks at the ball, puts the ball down, throws the ball, runs with the ball, scores, goes out-of-bounds, gets hurt, drops a hanky on the field, wants to talk to the coach, or needs to tie his shoe. Plus there's a 15 minute break at halftime so the coaches can yell at the players, the cheerleaders can put on a show and smile and giggle at the football players, and you can grab another beer.

During these 4 quarters, the players try to run with the ball until the other team jumps on them and squashes them and covers their jerseys with grass stains and mud. Sometimes they try to throw the ball and catch it before the other team jumps on them and squashes them and covers their jerseys with grass stains and mud. Sometimes they try to kick the ball until the other team jumps on them and squashes them and covers their jerseys with grass stains and mud. (There's a lot of jumping, smashing, squashing, smacking, crunching helmets, and grass stains and mud.)

A team scores by running or throwing the ball into the end zone. That's called a touchdown. This is followed by a little dance. If the dance is good enough, the judges give that team an extra point. They can get points for doing other stuff too, but it's too complicated to understand. If you see your team's score suddenly jump up by another point or two, just clap.

Sometimes players do bad things and the referees throw their hankies on the field to protest. For example, when the players all line up with their butts in the air, the goal is to not be the first person to move. It's like a game of chicken and the first person to move gets a hanky thrown at them and then the ref moves the ball back just to tick off the guy who moved first. Sometimes players do other bad things. The ref will throw his hanky on the ground like a princess waiting for a handsome gentleman to pick it up for her. Then he'll make a bunch of gestures signaling the player to steal third.

In the end, the team with the most points wins. And now you know all about football. Check back tomorrow and I'll post a glossary of helpful football terms.

* I just had Jackson read my post. He shook his head and walked away, saying I could just drop him off at his game this weekend and I really don't have to stay.

32 comments:

Tammy said...

So your blogpost did it's job? LOL I'm sorry. I couldn't even read it all. I skimmed it. Blame it on the time or PMS or homeschooling two little monsters or whatever. Wear a medical mask; all those helpful people will stay away. Won't help how Jackson feels, but it will get the job done. LOL

Losing Brownies said...

I think I'm just as confused as I was before. I don't get football, or any sport really.

Good for you, for sticking through it! At least you can watch Savannah cheer them on! (Right, you did say she was a cheerleader? I'm just guessing she cheers for the same team Jackson play on.)

Fowler said...

Oh gee Dawn you totally cracked me up. This coming from a girl who actually played football in middle and freshman yr of high school. Altho now its totally boring to me. I love the way you explained it. Not forgetting those grass stains and mud that mom must wash out.. Still laughing in tears over here..

Tinabheart said...

after reading that entire post all I can say is...your kids school sells beer at the game? we might have to move!

V1nce said...

Hanky tossing and hugging. Really, that's pretty much all there is you need to know about football. Well done, Dawn!

Can't wait until you explain hockey!

bearhugg said...

ROFL!! Ok! I get it! You're about as subtle as an atom bomb ;) I'll spare you the side line seminar from now on. Leave it to you to make football 101 sound like a Mel Brooks movie. Brilliant work! LOL!! All-in-all I think you're getting the gist of it, but maybe you should just stick to baseball ;) I'm still giggling. Hilarious to the end (zone) Dawn! Thanks for keeping a smile on my face :D!!

captureandcreate said...

???? still none the wiser** but then i come from a country (NZ) where we play rugby...guys WITHOUT padding!!! that's enough sport for me!!!! lol!!!

AussieRodney said...

From someone on the other side of the world who knows virtually nothing about football (which is really Gridiron), that's a perfectly sensible explanation of a very confusing game. Well done!

Beckie said...

That was the most perfect explaination, EVER!!! My husband tried and failed more times to explain it to me.

From a mom who dosen't understand or want to learn anything about any sport.

Laura said...

Excellent!! The post did the trick - you have permission to NOT sit through the game!!

Carrie M. said...

"The ref will throw his hanky on the ground like a princess waiting for a handsome gentleman to pick it up for her. Then he'll make a bunch of gestures signaling the player to steal third."

I literally laughed out loud when I read this. The people I work with think I'm crazy (well...crazier..lol).

Mel said...

Dawn, I'm with you on the whole glazed eye thing! Being Australian, my eyes started glazing over just reading your post lol. Obviously, our football games (yep, we have more than one style) are a bit different to yours. Good luck lasting the season =)

Megryansmom said...

People really do come in to our lives for a reason! Thank you for finally explaining football to me in a way that I can understand. Now come Sunday I can impress my husband with my new found knowledge and our couch can have matching ass grooves. You're the best!

Robin said...

"drops a hanky on the field" I'm dying here!! LOL!!!! :) I LOVE football! You'll be glad to know I don't feel the need to explain the game to mom's who don't quite understand. If they ask, I'll explain. But my one pet peeve is the mom OR dad who sits down facing AWAY from the field, talking the whole time. Chances are, their child is paying attention to the fact that they're NOT paying attention.

Kris Roach said...

I LOVE the baseball references like 4th inning, and stealing 3rd, because you and I both know that BASEBALL is America's favorite passtime...football is an excuse to tailgate. Sounds like you have learned about as much about football as I know...which ain't too much! I like your plan, clap when the other people clap, etc...good luck...you have a long winter ahead of you...

Blended said...

just to correct you...the white lines on the field are every 10yards not 5 (sorry)

LizzieB said...

I finally understand what a down is! The Dawn interpretation anyway and that's close enough for me. And, the game of chicken with their butts in the air... Now I understand why a couple of them seem to have nervous legs.
What do you know about basketball? baseball? And, soccer. Who the heck understands soccer?

marythemom said...

You have just explained football to me in a way that I get and it wasn't terribly painful. Thank you!

(How shameful is it that I grew up in TX - where football = life and have 2 school age sons, but still know almost nothing about the game?)

Mary in TX
http://marythemom-mayhem.blogspot.com
Mom to biokids Ponito(11) and his sister Bob(14)
Sibling pair adoptive placement from NE foster care 11/06
Finally finalized on Kitty(15) on 3/08 - 2 weeks before her 13th birthday!
RAD, C-PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, ODD?, ADHD, learning disorders, cerebral dysrhythmia
Finalized on her brother Bear(17) 7/08. He turned 15 the next day.
RAD, C-PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, ADD, cerebral dysrhythmia, traits of personality disorders

" Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

Mom Taxi Julie said...

You have BEER at your games?? I'm so jealous!!

Sherry said...

Funny. I happen to love football but was relieved when my 7-year old son found out his best friend was playing football and said, "I want to.... go watch Sam play football." Phew! So glad he didn't say he wanted to play.

jdb in AZ said...

Watching football just might give you "down" syndrome. And the end zone -- is that next to the Twilight Zone?

Next time Austin's team seems undecided on which way to run to avoid the oncoming slaughter, just jump up and yell, "Run, Forest, Run!" (If you haven't seen the movie Forest Gump, never mind.)

What I can't understand is why my adult(?) son and his friends spend FIVE hours tailgating before each home game. Yes they have a portable generator to run an air conditioner on the back of a truck (this is Arizona, after all) and they have two t.v.'s tuned to ESPN, but don't they have anythang better to do?

And now that animal abuser Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback on Sunday for Philadelphia NFL team (is that the fillies or the eagles?) was it really necessary for their local paper to refer to Vick as "Top Dog?"

Tinagsmarykay said...

i had tears streaming down my face reading this ROFL! I have the same conversation with my hubby & son about how long a football game takes LOL

Jensamom23 said...

Love it!

Heidi said...

Okay, so you kept mentioning beer... What school is your son in that has beer at a football game? I am laughing because I first thought, "I think her son is still in public school and not college". My second thought was, "Even if he is in college there are universities that don't allow alcohol in the stadium." My third thought was where does she live because I figured that you did not live in Pennsylvania because we have all kinds of weird liquor laws here (outside of the whole alcohol on school grounds thing). My final thought was I have been living in a state with weird liquor laws to long since this is the thing that keeps preoccupying my mind while I am reading a humorous football explanation, get a life Heidi :) Everytime I visit other states and see alcohol in Walmart, drug and grocery stores, I end up doing a double take. My husband and I constantly laugh about it. Our relatives when they visit us are flustered by it. It is entertainment to be had by all :)

Kristine said...

Sadly, I know most of the rules after having to be at every home game at high school. There are some things that I miss, but I still get what's going on. Love your explanation though!

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

Two years ago...I was football stupid :) Now...I am the program administrator. Go figured.

Once the season really took off that first year and I got to see how much my son loved it, I soaked all those rules and plays right up!

I bet you'll have a bachelor's degree at the end of this season! Enjoy!

Jennifer Foster said...

You're killin me!

Ja'Net said...

@Blended: The yard lines are every 5 yards and there are hash marks for every yard. The yard lines are only marked with a number every 10 yards though, maybe that's what you meant?

First of all Dawn, I'm very jealous. My son played 5 years of rec ball (at public parks) and there was NO beer, no matter how much the parents thought it would be a great fundraiser! ;) Now he's a freshman in a (public) high school, so alas, still no beer.

It takes time to learn but when they win that championship game, even if you don't know what the heck just happened, you'll be grinning from ear to ear, trust me. One of my favorite pictures of my son is after his last rec football game in the mud, and they won, and he's filthy but SO happy.

Que said...

I'm glad you are picking up on the finer details of the sport. Everyone loves a good hanky toss.

Jeromy said...

Love, love, LOVE your football description!!!

Renee said...

I've awarded you the One Lovely Blog award. Here's the link: http://mytrampolinelife.blogspot.com/2010/09/one-lovely-blog-award.html. Thanks for your blog. I enjoy reading it.

Chick 101 by Molly Anderson said...

Love your blog! Check out mine if you want...I write one called Chick 101-Football for Girls where we recap the week's games and give out all sorts of great info--in "girlspeak" :) I'd be happy to put a link to your blog on mine if you wouldn't mind!

http://chick-101.blogspot.com

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