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COMMUNITY VOICE

Don't cha hate it when that happens? Anyone want a beer?

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 12:01 am

For close to 50 years, I have spent Sunday afternoons with either my children or husband watching professional football.

No matter how hard I try, I just don't understand the game. My husband is infinitely patient with my repetitive questions, but I just don't “get” football. First of all, as I have said before, I don't understand their “costumes.” Many of them look alike to me.

For instance, the other day both teams were wearing blue and white. “Well,” George explained, “one has blue on the top and one has blue on the bottom.”

That makes no sense to me. Once again, I think they should choose one color for their whole uniform and stick to it. Some could wear stripes, others polka dots and another team hot pink, etc. Don't confuse me by wearing the same colors as the opposite team, even if one is on the top and the other on the bottom. When the men are in a pile, who can tell whose bottom is whose anyway?

At any rate, I have recently created some football-reaction stock phrases that I am going to stick to from now on, and you are welcome to borrow some if you are a woman (I don't mean to be chauvinistic, but women as a whole are too smart to understand football). Here are some good phrases you can shout at the television:

“Don't cha hate it when that happens?” This is the perfect phrase to use when “your” team fumbles the football or the ball is intercepted. (It can also be used when someone backs into something and dents a fender.) It rather puts things in perspective, I believe. Like, there is WWI, WWII and that pass interception. That's perspective.

“Stop that!” What is it, anyway, when someone fumbles the football and one man throws himself on the ball and then everyone piles on top of him? Now I know that they are probably making sure no one steals it from the person who threw himself on it first. As each new player jumps on the pile, I can imagine the man on the bottom of the pile's face being pushed deeper and deeper into the mud. How can he breathe with eight 400-pound men on top of him?

As the referee peels the players off one by one and the bottom man emerges, why isn't his nose broken? And heaven help any man who is unfortunate enough to make a touchdown! All of his teammates pound on his helmet or try to pick him up or do a back flip over him. Think of the reverberations inside his helmet! “Stop that!” you can shout at the television. It never works, but you are showing compassion.

“Wow! Look at that ball go between the uprights!” Only shout that, though, if it is your team that has scored. If it misses, revert to, “Don't cha hate it when that happens?”

“What a kick!” Knowing the difference between a “punt” and a “kickoff” is very important. Both look alike to me, but a kickoff is done after one team scores and the team's kicker kicks the ball off a very large golf tee. A punt occurs when one team has failed to make a first down after three tries. A kicker holds the ball himself and punts the ball in the opposite direction.

Not to confuse you, but another type of kick is known as the “point after.” When a team makes a touchdown, they get six points, and then another kicker tries to put the ball between the goal posts (sometimes called the uprights or nirvana) for one point. This time, the “center” throws the ball to a teammate who places the ball down for the kicker. (Think Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.)

Each team seems to have six or seven kickers but only one quarterback. Also, if the kicker gets the football between the uprights, he is once again mishandled by his teammates pounding him on his back or on the helmet or body bumping him into unconsciousness. “Stop that!” also works here.

“Hold that line!” I have no idea what this means, but when I was a cheerleader in high school, that's the only phrase I knew in football season, and it seemed to work.

“Anyone want a beer?” Now, this is the best football phrase of all. If you don't know what else to say and everyone is in a grouchy mood because of an interception, a foul or a bad call, just shout out this phrase. Honestly, it works every time. However, watch out because everyone might start pounding you on the back or slapping you on your helmet.

Nancy Carlson Dodd is a resident of Fort Wayne.