It was pretty clear, from the moment the boys were born, that I’d never have two sons like Doctors Niles and Frasier Crane, no matter how much I wished for them. There are no matching sweater-vests in my future, and if given the choice between a Maria Callas tribute or gouging their eyes out with a butter knife, I’m pretty sure the boys would bid their eyesight adieu.
But I was not prepared for the enormous role that sport, especially football, would play in their lives, and as a result, in mine.
A few football observations:
1. I am not a stupid person. I may not have been able to hack high school physics, but I ably followed this whole fiscal cliff episode, and I still understand about one fourth of Prufrock. Still, I am not being glib when I say that I cannot for the life of me understand how this game of football is played. I know there are goals at each end of the field, and I know that it’s a big deal when the ball gets into one of them, but everything that happens in between is a complete and utter mystery. What on earth is a “down” and why on earth does the game stop and start so much? This has all been explained to me many, many times, but none of it sticks. I suppose I could make room in my brain for it, but then I’d have to get rid of something else. I got rid of all of French history to make room for Star Wars characters, and what little Shakespeare I grasped had to go to make room for Ninjago.
Do I really have to wipe out something else?
2. Entire nations can crumble in the time it takes for a game to be played. The boys used to fool me and say, “We’ll come up for dinner when the game is done. There are only fourteen minutes left.” Fourteen minutes, I quickly, learned,  is a football eternity. Every time  one of those enormous men drops the ball, the whole thing comes to a screeching halt. The whole thing has as much fluidity as a bumper car. We’re talking hours here.
3. I wonder whether Mary and Matthew really need to move away from Downton to get some space from her family, or if they could just be given their own floor of the Abbey. Oops, wrong show…
4. Those damned cheerleaders. People, there are young boys and girls watching this thing. Put the boobs away. I told M that in my next life I’d come back as a designer of cheerleader costumes. He said he wasn’t sure that people would watch cheerleaders who looked like they walked off the set of “Sense and Sensibility.” I don’t know. In my mind, there’s nothing sexier than an empire waistline, a floor-length, hem, and some little leather booties. Surely, I can’t be alone here.
5. The cheerleaders have nothing on the smutty commercials.
6. If I have to watch (which I do, in order to avoid being peripheral, which I know will happen eventually anyway), then at least give me something to look at. Apparently, even though the majority of the players barely resemble athletes, many of them are quite athletic. Each time I comment on the remarkable girth of a player, one of the men in the house tells me that he can do something extraordinary, like jump onto a table from the floor, or lift a school bus. Still, would it hurt these guys to trim down a bit?
Tom Brady can’t be everywhere at once, and in the meantime, there’s a whole lot of ugly in the NFL.
7. Opera cannot compete with football. There’s a children’s production of Rossini’s Cinderella next Sunday. M told me that if I forced the boys to skip a playoff game to go to the opera, then I’d pretty much guarantee them an opera-free life. I could never life with myself. So, I’m sadly passing on the opera in favor of a game that will surely last for seven hours and require many, many bowls of popcorn, plates of nachos, and will not feature a single tenor.
The opera may feature ladies in low cut dresses, but I’m not sure they can compete with those damn cheerleaders.

Posted in parenting, sports on Jan 8, 2013