Are you ready for some football?!

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about football lately. Partially because autumn is fast approaching and, with it, all things pumpkin spice, which for the most part I abhor. Also, the baseball season is winding down which always sort of depresses me. Winter seems extra long without the crack of the bat and the smell of grass and leather. Finally, because my path has crossed the football plane a couple of times lately and that has urged me to write this.

This leads me to my current thoughts on football which is hilarious because of this small anecdote: When we first ordered DirecTV, we were automatically signed up for NFL Sunday Ticket. Now, prior to a couple of years ago, I didn’t give any thought to the NFL. I was aware of it, I just had no interest. And NFL Sunday Ticket is no small price tag item, particularly if you have zero fucks to give. So, my loving wife called customer service to have it removed.

Wife: “Yes, we don’t need NFL Sunday Ticket.”

Customer Service: “You don’t need it?”

Wife: “Correct. My husband doesn’t watch football.”

Customer Service: “He…he doesn’t…he doesn’t watch football. At all?!

I’m fairly certain the gentleman on the other end of the phone had a minor stroke as he began the process of removing this golden package that every full-blooded American male covets with every fiber of his being. Suffice to say, we’ve never had NFL Sunday Ticket, and I don’t anticipate ever needing it.

Part I

Now, being as I’ve established my complete lack of interest in professional football, I should note that I do follow, with some interest, college football. Particularly where it intersects with the University of Louisville (my employer and alma mater) and the University of Kentucky (that other school which could burn tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss it) and the University of Tennessee (simply because they tend to regularly destroy UK, and I married into a Vols family Aside: Vols, Vowels, ahem, it all makes sense if you think about it.) and with this I do tend to get an appreciable amount of football.

Because of this, I had occasion to become a fan of Teddy Bridgewater, fan favorite at UofL, who was drafted to be a quarterback by the Minnesota Vikings and I tended to follow his progress with Minnesota just as happenstance. So, it was with some fear and an audible gasp from the city of Louisville that I read of his tibiofemoral dislocation Aside: Do NOT Google images of this unless you’re prepared to lose your lunch! Teddy is a quality individual who is well liked by pretty much everyone who’s ever spoken his name, that I’m aware of, and so this season-ending injury was devastating to him, to Vikings fans, and to UofL fans. I wish Teddy well in his recovery and hope that he gets back on the field for Minnesota sooner than later.

Part II 

Bridgewater:quarterback. Kaepernick:quarterback. Now, this is not an SAT question. Nor is it connecting Teddy Bridgewater and Colin Kaepernick (of the San Francisco 49ers) in any way. Merely a segue way to show you my mind gets from one place to the other. Still, if you’ve even glanced at the news lately and pushed aside the presidential election for just a moment, you’ve heard of Colin Kaepernick, of “sitting during National Anthem” fame. I don’t know about Kaepernick’s ability as quarterback, but I have several thoughts on his current stance (or lack thereof) regarding the National Anthem. Why? Because I have, at times, felt the exact same as Colin Kaepernick.

  1. I’m not entirely sure why we play the National Anthem before sporting events in the first place. It doesn’t seem to lend itself to any purpose other than a manner of beginning things. I would think that this could be accomplished in any other number of ways. One example would be to simply blow a whistle at the appointed time, or to yell “Play Ball.” It seems arbitrary to play the National Anthem. We could just as easily rally around “Happy Birthday” or a rousing rendition of “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night.” Stadiums are chock full of screens and clocks these days. It would seem that the crowd wouldn’t really need another defining moment to know when the game begins.
  2. It seems to me that people who might be offended by Kaepernick’s decision to sit are military veterans, of which I am not, but I know several. For many of them, their particular thoughts on the decision are that Kaepernick is well within his rights as an American citizen to sit during the anthem, particularly since he’s given a sound reason for doing so, rather than he’s just tired or lazy. I figure if people who have actually fought in wars are not concerned about his decision, then maybe those of us who haven’t fought in wars should be a little less irate. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they’re mad. There’s this intense feeling that seems out of joint when their sense of decorum and patriotism is slighted. I would suggest that maybe they could listen to what Kaepernick is saying about his rights as a citizen, rather than simply flying off the handle.
  3. I used to be Colin Kaepernick. Not in a literal sense, but there was a time in my life where I didn’t stand for the anthem. I didn’t look at the flag. I felt that our country was participating in global activities that didn’t represent me and, for my part, not reverencing the flag was an act of civil disobedience. Currently, I don’t stand during the ubiquitous “God Bless America” because I don’t believe God does bless America, nor should God were God so inclined. We are a global citizenry and this jingoistic nonsense wrapped in love of country is not helping anyone. It reeks of McCarthyism and “Red Scare” and is entirely unnecessary. Still, there was a time I felt the same about the American flag. However, I should note that now, I stand and salute the flag (per the U.S. Code) and sing the National Anthem loudly and proudly (not least of which because I have a pretty great singing voice and I can’t stand to hear people mumble through it) because I’m supportive of these same military veterans that I referenced earlier.

So, with all of that said, it’s still baseball season as far as I’m concerned. The Red Sox are still in it to win it (though their bullpen could certainly use some help!) and I’m looking forward to fall with only the slightest bit of depression, as I typically do. And, maybe all of the above is why I don’t follow professional football.

Go Cards! Go Vols! Beat Kentucky!

See you in the funny papers!