Seasons come and go, but football is forever
The Pee Wee football season ended a month ago, and the Roaring Fork Rams, on Halloween. But football never ends. My household watches weekend games, Monday night football, and maybe Tuesday replays. We attended the Rams’ banquet in Carbondale, then Mike and the boys hurried home to watch the Steelers. The boys never stop tossing the football, including indoors, which for the record is forbidden, but hard to enforce when across the room Mike is saying, “Pass!”
I am drawn into the scene. In a manner of speaking.
“OK,” Roy, 12, begins at the dinner table. “Oakland?”
“Raiders!” I say promptly.
“Mom!” Teddy, 15, says, surprised at my facility. I sit up straighter.
I guess Colts.
“Yes!” they shout.
“Ummm S … “
Roy shrugs. “Lions. Cleveland?”
“Browns,” he tells me.
“I never would have known that.”
“You didn’t know that last time either. Kansas City?”
I flip my fork pertly. “Braves!”
Incredible hilarity ensues. “That’s a baseball team!” someone crows.
Roy gathers himself together and resumes, “Cincinnati?”
“Mmmm … Pistons.”
“Oh, my gosh. That’s a basketball team.”
“Who is it, Titans?
“Oh, my god. Bengals. … Atlanta?”
Pause. Roy flaps his arms. Teddy pantomimes, as far as I can tell, a rocket ship attacking a tweety bird.
I ask, “Roadrunners?”
“She’s never going to get this,” they tell each other. “Falcons.”
I answer a number of questions correctly but stall at Tampa Bay, hints notwithstanding.
“Bucs! Buccaneers,” Roy finally says. “Mom, you got more of these right last time.”
As I write, we leave in a few days to travel to Utah to see my college friends Rin and Karen and their families, with whom we sometimes share Thanksgiving. Rin and John have two boys, aged 6 and 10; Cam and Karen have three, from 15 into college, and one serene little 7-year-old girl. Rin lives in Salt Lake City, and Karen in Boulder, so get-togethers have hitherto been in the more centrally-located Carbondale. We’ve generally hiked or skied, both alpine and cross-country, and have usually had snow on the ground.
At the moment snow is iffy in Utah, so when Rin by e-mail suggests football among various potential forms of entertainment, I reply that three-quarters of my household would love that, though I myself prefer to socialize on the sidelines, or hike.
Cam joins right in. “Football is always high on the list,” he writes. “Especially since John probably can’t catch me for once this year, and I have three blockers on my team who are all 6’2″ -plus, and a combined 650 pounds.”
John is fresh off another surgery for his various bizarre injuries. The blockers are Cam’s sons.
The next day I e-mail back: “The Benges say to tell you that 330 pounds of fury (that includes Mike) are coming at you. Roy says, ‘I’m small and fast.’ Teddy says, ‘I’m just tough.'”
Rin chimes in, enumerating: “1. I could not bear to leave my good, dear friend Alison to hike or chat on the sidelines all by herself. So I will have to stick with her. 2. John has been off crutches for only three weeks. He is not cleared for combat. If he hurts himself playing football I will kill him, and divorce him posthumously. 3. Whoever gets Andrew on their team is lucky. He is only 40 pounds, but it is 40 pounds of ferocity and incredible noise.”
John then suggests, constructively, “We’ll have to throw our neighbors and dogs into the mix,” to which Rin later responds: “The dogs, although they weigh in at about 205-210 combined, are probably a liability, unless you can teach them to sit on an opposing player and crush him.” The next-door neighbor, Ed, is not an asset, she declares, “but his wife, Mindy, is really, really tough.”
By the time you read this, the mighty Thanksgiving Challenge will have been played, won and lost. Roy remains convinced we win. It is our version of Thanksgiving spirit.
Alison Osius lives in Carbondale and can be reached at email@example.com.
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