Tag Archives: football

Pigskin-r-ific

Yesterday was a fun end for us to the 2008 regular season of NFL, watching Carolina and Miami carve themselves a path to the post-season excitement.

First off, let me say congrats to Joy and her Vikings, and best of luck in the playoffs!

Secondly, my son’s Panthers ended up top in their division, as did my husband’s Dolphins.  In fact, Miami did so well compared to last year that they are one of the all time top turn-around teams in NFL history!

My father’s Lions, well.  I guess if you’re going to stink, you may as well do it perfectly!  Really reek up the joint!  And you know, first round draft pick, and all the rest.  I guess if you’re a Lions fan you’ve gotten used to the view from the bottom by now.  And with a record like theirs, you are 100% guaranteed not to do any worse next year!

Similar to my Raiders.  They did win one more game than last year, so perhaps they are on a slow crawl back to a winning season.  Maybe in another decade they’ll actually make it to the playoffs!

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Team loyalty

I feel that there’s something slightly slutty about shifting the weight of one’s team affiliation, or rooting for more than one team, so I have come here today to attempt to explain my NFL team preferences and hope that I emerge with some shred of integrity generated by the rationality and/or sheer passion of my arguments.  

I’ve watched football since I was a tiny kid by virtue of it being on in my father’s living room, but I soon got old enough to turn it on myself.  Just the sound of it in the background reminds me of Thanksgiving and lazy Sunday afternoons, my Dad slowly raising two fists while uttering a subdued “yes…,” the opportunity to ask him endless questions about why there was a flag when the guys were just running and smashing the way they always do.

In order to feel less sleezy, I want to explain to anyone who will listen why in heaven’s name I appear to root for all manner of teams, and why there are teams I never cared about who are suddenly making their way onto my roster of approval.

# 1 Oakland Raiders  (This is most likely the only time you will ever see them associated with the number one, unless it is a list of the all-time most crappy teams…)  As long as they stay in Oakland, they will always be my number one team, since they are only a two-minute BART ride from the place I was born.  My Dad won’t root for them until Al Davis is run out of town tarred and feathered, but I was just so happy when they left LA and came home that I can ignore the fact that they are run by a lunatic.  (For further thoughts on this particular neurosis of mine, please see one of my previous blogs: The Ten Best Things About Being a Raider’s Fan )

#2 Miami Dolphins  A recent addition to my list of favorites, this has always been my husband’s favorite team.  If we invite you over to dinner, feel free to insult any politician, deliver a raging diatribe against any basketball organization, even make snide comments about the Pope, but if you so much as sneeze at my husband’s mother or Dan Marino, you’d better make for the nearest exit right quick.

#3 Detroit Lions  My father’s favorite team, being his hometown.  When I was a kid I secretly hated the Lions, just to be contrary, so the fact that they are third now is a big step up.  But, to make up for it, the Detroit Tigers always were and always will be my favorite baseball team, even over and above the Oakland A’s.  (Plus “Athletics” is a moronic name and they have lame colors.)

#4 Carolina Panthers  This is the most recent addition and in fact the inspiration for this post.  I never cared a whit about these guys, until:

  1. My youngest son was born in North Carolina
  2. We are entering our second year of being residents of North Carolina
  3. And finally, and really the most valid reason of all, Panther games are the only damn thing they will consistently show on the channels we get.

#5 Seattle Seahawks  A leftover affiliation from my 15 years of living in Oregon, where they somehow manage to carry on living without a professional football team.  (It’s shocking, really, it must be the oxygen deprivation caused by all the burning patchouli.)  Most residents who are savvy enough to hug trees AND watch football at the same time root for the Seahawks, just to try to elevate awareness of Seattle as the birthplace of grunge, I suppose.

#6 Chicago Bears  This is a demented kind of loyalty to my other son, who was not born in Chicago and indeed has never set foot in the state of Illinois but somewhere along the way decided that he liked the Cubs and the Bears.  I’ll root for them against most everyone who isn’t above them on my list, just to give my son the illusion that Mama supports his interests.

#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers  Another team similar to the two directly above.  My husband doesn’t wish they were dead, so if they happen to be playing another team that we care even less about, we will root for them just to make the game exciting.  They don’t even really deserve to be on the list.  The fact that I extend the list this far just dilutes my fanhood to an embarrassing degree.

So let’s end that list now and move on to the opposite group, not intending to insult or offend anyone, bearing in mind that this list is even less well-thought-out and its illegitimate status should not be questioned but just assumed:

Teams, in no particular order, that I will always root against:

San Francisco 49ers  Okay, this is the only even vaguely legit one.  My father and grandfather used to cross the bay to go to 49ers games many decades ago, until the fans became so obnoxious and violent that it wasn’t fun anymore.  At one point some drunk maniac threatened my grandfather, I think the story goes, and they decided from that moment on to be done with the team forever.  I am carrying out the tradition in the style of genuine, bigoted, mindless hate.

Dallas Cowboys  This is kind of like hating the most popular girl in school, even if she’s nice.  Stemming from a severe lack of self-esteem and jealousy, I have decided that the Cowboys suck and I despise them.  My husband likes them okay, so it kind of relieves any tension I might feel in our relationship to be able to declare “Well I think they stink!” and know that no permanent damage is done.

Any team in the New England area/NY  I’m not entirely sure of the origin of this, if it is a carry-over from my learned abhorrence of the Yankees (having been raised by a Tigers fan, you understand) or being a Californian who thought that NY was our main cultural rival, or if in a past life I was killed by a murderer wearing a Jets windbreaker.  In any event, this organic displeasure is reinforced by my husband who has the whole “South vs. Damn Yankees” issue going on.

And that’s pretty much it.  All the other teams will get my cheers if they play a team on the hated list, will get my boos if they play someone on my sweet darlings list, and will get the game turned off if they are playing each other.

Unless I am super desperate for a game, which happens with alarming frequency.  I think this addiction is the origin of my unfocussed loyalty, and I think a true aficionado of the sport would understand;  I NEED to watch FOOTBALL right this MINUTE and the only game on is a rerun of West Virginia playing Arkansas in 1976.  Go Razorbacks, whoever you are!!!

Thank you for listening, and judge kindly, remembering that I am battling a serious football addiction.  It’s not me, it’s the disease.

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The Ducks Love Dixon

We lost Dennis Dixon at the beginning of the game last night. The poor guy’s knee just couldn’t take his amazing moves. The emotion on his face as the camera spied on his private hell tempered any disappointment I was feeling. Poor me, watching my number two ranked alma mater lose to a team we could have crushed despite their insistence on their ability to bring about a “November upset”, when here is this guy in physical and emotional pain, desperate to be in there doing his thing, crushed to be letting down his team and all who love them, and watching his hopes of a Heisman trophy go down the crapper. Who the hell am I to feel sorry for myself.

But man, those first few minutes of the game… that guy is incredible. It looked like we were going to blow Arizona’s doors off. The way he moves, fakes, runs, throws. I think more than having to watch a loss, I was more disappointed about having to watch a game without Dixon in it, just because he is so much fun to watch.

I hope he doesn’t give another thought to the loss or to anyone’s disappointment. You’ve won our hearts, number 10, and we just want you to be okay, for your own sake, that your knee will last you to a ripe old age, so you can throw around the pigskin with your kids.

We know you always give us everything you’ve got, and we’ve loved every minute. Time to save a little something for yourself.

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Life is just business…

Troy Williamson missed a game last week to take care of his grandmother’s funeral, not just a distant relative but someone who helped raise him. The Vikings were fine with his leaving, but docked his pay for that week ($25,000, according to ESPN this morning).

Another piece of the puzzle that is professional sports. “They make too much money.” “They should be perfect role models.” “They miss births, deaths, weddings.” When they sign their contracts, do they sign away normal personhood? In exchange for fabulous wealth and celebrity, do they give up any rights to maintain connection with the real world? Is approval of this system a form of revenge, exacted in bitter jealousy that they get to do what we have only dreamed of?

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The Ten Best Things About Being a Raiders Fan

1. The coolest logo ever

2. The best colors ever

3. You can appreciate them being in Oakland the way you never did before their defection to LA

4. They can’t ever disappoint you any more than they already have

5. When they win it is as awesome as Christmas, since they are both events that only happen about once a year (although this year they’ve won twice so far! woo hoo!)

6. If you’re from Oakland (like yours truly) then you can’t be accused of being on the bandwagon, you’re just given props as an extremely loyal fan who won’t abandon their team during their decades of trouble

7. If you’re not from Oakland, you can’t be accused of being on the bandwagon, since to be on the bandwagon implies you are rooting for a non-hometeam just because they happen to be winning

8. They always get one of the first picks in the draft

9. If you’ve ever been to the Oakland Coliseum (now called McAfee), you know it is next to a really cool building that looks like a toy drum

10. It gives you yet another reason to hate the 49ers

Did I forget anything? Can we make it 11?

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