Nuts. They got me again. And I’m not even a football guy.
I wasn’t going to get all wrapped up in the NFL season this year. Seriously. There’s lots of other things to do on a Sunday, and I thought I was ready to try some of them. The NFL was going to take a back seat.
The players were locked out. There was no offseason buzz to follow. Nothing to get excited about. I managed a graceful exit from the Clarion’s group of pigskin prognosticators, under the guise of making room for some of the new guys. I could sit back and fire off some of the pot shots I’d been taking over the years.
With the lifting of the lockout, though, things started getting a little interesting. Figuring out which players would land where over the space of just a few days, rather than months, was intriguing. My curiosity was piqued, but I was still committed to doing other things on Sundays. I didn’t watch any preseason games, wasn’t listening to sports radio or watching ESPN. Plenty of other things to do.
Then a couple things happened. I’m not sure which came first, but my wife got cajoled in joining a fantasy league with some of her coworkers, and I got the email inviting me to jump into a pick ’em pool in which I’ve participated for the past few years — just for fun, of course. That’s when things started to get really interesting.
It should be noted that my wife is a huge football fan. Our first purchase together was a livingroom sofa. When we walked into the showroom, we told the salesperson it had to be big enough and comfortable enough for us to spend all day Sunday lounging on it. But she’s never wanted to do the fantasy football thing, and she even dropped out of the pick ’em pool after a couple seasons — too much work, too much pressure, taking some of the fun out of watching for her.
But all of the sudden, I found myself digging into the NFL season. My wife was looking for tips ahead of her fantasy draft, and I figured, what the heck, as long as we’re studying up, might as well do the pick ’em pool again (I went 12-4 in Week 1, thank you very much). Then we were hitting the Internet, checking out the NFL analysis shows — I’ll admit, I never spent that much time looking at stats even when I was covering sports.
Then came the NFL’s opening weekend — a five-day event, really, with a Thursday night game, followed by two days of hype and analysis, then Sunday and Monday games. Of course, I had to watch the season opener. Then came the Sunday games, and I found myself ready to go at 9 a.m., flipping back and forth between the early games. And after that, might as well settle in for the afternoon games, right? And of course, we had to see which maligned quarterback was going to cough up the game in the Sunday nighter, of course.
Then came Monday. I’ll admit, I pulled a shirt out of the clothes hamper to wear to work, as the various intermissions on Sunday just weren’t enough time for me to do a load of laundry. And I started my “dinner break” at 3 p.m. — that’s when my team was kicking off. I had to leave for a function in the fourth quarter of that game, and met up with my wife, who was pestering the gentleman with a smart phone next to her for updates. And of course, when we got home, there was the end of the second game to watch — a Monday night double-header for opening week.
After that five-day football binge, I figured that I’d had my fix for a while, and was starting to think about all the other things I need to get done this weekend.
But then came this midweek advice from the quarterback of my favorite team: “Start drinking early. Get rowdy. It’s a 4:15 (Eastern Time) game, a lot of time to get lubed up. Come out here and cheer for the home team.”
How can I ignore good advice like that? Looks like I have something besides watching football on the schedule for Sunday.
Clarion editor Will Morrow may or may not be reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org, depending on what time his team kicks off this week.