Saturday, September 04, 2010
Football First Downs? I Call "Foul!"
Since football was as much a part of my childhood as books, pop music, and mystery meat in the school cafeteria, I guess I should be ashamed of myself when I make the following confession:
I don’t ‘get’ it.
It’s true! I don’t understand the game of football! And I’m not ashamed, because it’s not my fault. It’s taken me a lot of years to forgive myself for having such a mental block about my State’s most revered pastime. The revelation that I’m not the one who’s confused took place while my brother was trying – YET AGAIN – to explain to me the rules of the game. It’s the terminology that’s off. Football lingo makes no sense. I’m a writer – a lover of words. I take their meaning literally. So, I ask you: How can there be multiple “FIRST downs?”
Here’s a definition of the word ‘first’ that I found here: “preceding all others in time or space or degree . . . ”
The kiss following your very first one is your second kiss, and the one after that is your third, and so on. We can only have one first love, first job, first house, first glance at our first child. These firsts “precede all others” that follow. Thus is the basis for my argument that in the game of football, the “down” following the first one must be the “second down” and the next one, the “third down,” and so it goes.
My brother, my dad, my husband, and my sons have stopped trying to explain to me why multiple firsts in football make sense. Their smug silence and raised brows tell me they think I’m the one with the problem, but I disagree. They can’t make sense of it, because it makes no sense. A “first” occurs, then it’s over. Been there, done that, as the old saying goes. Obviously, the person who invented football had no grasp of language.
(P.S. If you can accomplish what no other person has been able to do -- make sense of first downs in my mind -- I'll not only admit the error of my thinking, I'll put your name in a drawing for a free autographed early copy of THROUGH HER EYES. (And the men in my family will thank you and be in awe of you and sing your praises). Post your words of wisdom in the Comments section. Deadline: October 1.)