Before November 8 of this year, I had never watched an entire football game. That, plus the fact that I've never actually been to a football game, has pretty much left me out of contention for the coveted America's Greatest Football Fan title.
What was different about November 8 was that I had bought tickets for my spouse (a childhood Red Skins fan) and my son (a true-blue Bostonian Pats fan) to watch their two teams play at Gillette Stadium. For some reason, I felt that I needed to share the experience with them by watching the game at home on TV.
Now, my family was raised on baseball. We could see Wrigley Field from our house. My mother was a childhood Cubs fan, and so were we. My favorite sports-related factoid about myself is that, as a Cubs fan, I never knew that there was a Post Season. I thought that baseball just ended in early September. And the World Series? That was just some additional contest between two random teams, neither of which ever seemed to be the Cubs.
Anyway, I'm writing about football because, much to my suprise, I have found it to be a rather perfectly-paced game. Baseball is graceful, filled with metaphors, and a statistician's dream. We don't play when it rains, and the game revolves around what has been acknowledged as the hardest feat in all of sports - hitting a 90+ mph flying object with a stick.
But it's slow. On TV, baseball is a napper's dream. You lie on the couch, you watch for a bit, you doze off, and, with the exception of the occasional amazing play, you can wake up and find that you haven't missed all that much.
Basketball is the opposite. It's fun, but it's too damn fast. You can't even look down to get your salsa properly placed on your chip without running the risk of missing a basket or two.
Football allows you to follow what's happening (especially with those very helpful magical black and yellow stripes on the field), but you can also check your email or take another dunk into the seven-layer dip if you need to. And, overtime notwithstanding, there will never be a 33-inning football game.
But don't worry, Cubbies, I'm not abandoning you. But I have found a way to stay entertained during these cold, dark winter months.