Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Was All Pumped Up About Grid-Iron

Fall wouldn't be fall without football. When you get bogged down in responsibilities and have to fight tooth and nail for every spare moment of free time it can be easy to see football as just a bunch of millioniares running around. When I was younger I spent many a Sunday with my butt parked on the couch, doing homework and watching football. The Kansas City Chiefs became my favorite team to watch. My favorite player was Derrick Thomas who serves as evidence to my claim that everything I love turns to dust.

The main thing about liking the Chiefs is that they suck. You have to be prepared for that and have the ability to be happy anyway. There is a guy on one of the crews at my new job who went to the trouble of buying his very own "Chiefs" hardhat. When I see him, I feel sorry for him that he likes the same unwinning team as me. Over the years I have learned to take comfort in being one of the brave souls who dares to like the Chiefs. When the Chiefs had Joe Montana and Marcus Allen and came within one game of the SuperBowl there were suddenly Chiefs fans all over. And I resented those people because they weren't the brave ones who suffer through the losing times. They were just there to get on the bandwagon. I'm glad those people have gone back to liking lame-wad teams like the Dallas Cowboys.

At my new job, I work with an old guy. I asked him what kind of money I could expect to make as time goes by. He just said, "Well, I made over $90K last year and I don't take any foreman positions or anything." That sounded like plenty to me so I changed the subject to how he used to play football for the University of Utah. I asked him if he ever played against Merlin Olsen. He said Merlin was older but that he had played against Merlin's little brother. Some other guys heard us talking and one of them said, "You went to college? Man... you should have finished your degree so you didn't end up doing this work."

I wanted to say, "Yeah. $90,000/yr is okay but think of all the money you COULD have made if you had just finished that four year COMMUNICATIONS degree you were going for." I would have said it sarcastically, of course.

One thing about me: I would always prefer to play or participate in a sport rather than watch or talk about that sport. Especially golf, which I will barely acknowledge as a sport in the first place.

If you are wondering what I did for Thanksgiving, I will tell you that I played football with the mofos from the furniture store and spent the rest of the day eating food. It was a very good Thanksgiving Day.

Playing football was awesome. These guys aren't wimps. In fact, we have two black guys, both named Morgan on our crew. Both of them played college football. For simplicity let's call one of them Primetime and one of them The Bus. Primetime just played a year at a University in southern Utah but quit because of injuries. The Bus, on the other hand, is the third-highest leading rusher in the history of one of Utah's moderately known Universities and he played professional football in Canada (because that's where he's originally from).

In the first game we just split the mofos into two teams. We played "tackle" but we all agreed not to dismember, disembowl or permanently damage eachother as we are all dependent on eachother to finish our work and get out early every night at the furniture store.

So for all the good things in my life to be thankful for, Thanksgiving started out as one of those annoying days where you learn and come to terms with your personal limitations as a human being. I have already scratched "Cleaning a Meth House" off my list of things to do in my life and now I can also add "Tackle a professionally trained Running Back" to my list of accomplishments.

However, it may be just as bad to be tackled by a professionally trained running back. The Bus tackled me a couple of times. One time he grabbed me and whipped me down to the ground so hard that the winter beanie that was on my head ended up about ten feet away. Primetime yelled at The Bus after that play, "Easy, Man! He's half your size!" I told The Bus it was okay and that he should do what it takes to tackle me, because I was pretty productive. I threw a 30 yard TD pass, caught two TD passes and had an interception. I even feel like I tackled more than my fair share of people.

I had three opportunities to tackle The Bus and I only got him down once. That was because another guy had got him in a bearhug and The Bus had picked him up and was carrying him down the field. I ran and jumped on top of the mess and knocked them over. It was frustrating to be the only thing between The Bus and the endzone because how do you stop a charging bull besides hiding a sword behind a red cape?

This 200+ pound ball of muscle is running at you. The only reason he doesn't bowl you over is because he promised before the game started not to knock your head off. So you just stand there thinking of swear words because it's like trying to tackle a running, jumping telephone pole. I waited for him to go by and then tried to grab onto his shirt like I was grabbing the reins of a runaway horse. When he scored on me I yelled at my team, "YOU GUYS NEED TO KEEP CHASING HIM BECAUSE I CAN'T STOP HIM! ALL I CAN DO IS MAKE HIM TURN A LITTLE BIT!"

I noticed the The Bus mostly went down either because he slipped while dodging people or because he got bumped out of bounds. Anyway, the first game was a lot of fun and my team won by two touchdowns.

After that, a group of guys challenged us to play against them and we took them on. 12 on 12. We had offensive and defensive lines and everything. That game was crazy. We might be a big group of mofos but these guys were a bunch of assholes from assholeville. We were trying to kill eachother. There was a lot of limping afterward and three guys on my team ended the game with blood all in their teeth and the 18 yr old I hang out with had a cracked tooth. The other team managed to stop The Bus most of the time but at a heavy toll. The Bus returned a kickoff for a touchdown and bodies were flying everywhere on that play.

There was one guy on that opposing team who didn't score or make any significant tackles but who talked non-stop trash. He wouldn't shut up. The first time he got the ball, it looked like something out of a video game. Primetime came running in with superhuman speed, hit the guy in the waist, grabbed a leg under each arm, raised him about four feet in the air, turned him upside down and piledrived him:

It didn't shut the guy up but the stuff he said got stupider and stupider after that. "See you tackled me and I didn't even get hurt!" It was the most impressive tackle I've ever seen in real life.

Truth-be-told, I eased off in the second game because I need to stay healthy enough to work. But football was a lot of fun. The mofos liked it so much that they want to keep playing twice a month. I think that we must be the crazy guys from work, though, because we all played 3 hours of really hard tackle football and then it turned out that we were also the guys who volunteered to work 30 hours in a 36 hour period right after the holiday was over. Needless to say, I have pain everywhere right now.

But we finished Thanksgiving at my wife's aunt's house. Her uncle had his mother there and she told us a lot of crazy stories about growing up in Germany. She told us how her husband had been taken to fight for the Nazis. She told us about how she was unlucky enough to be outside one night after the 8 o'clock curfew and she was forced to run for her life while pushing a baby stroller. The man who carved our Thanksgiving turkey had been in that stroller as bullets wizzed past.

That may not sound good to you, but if we would just change our constitution to allow GW Bush to become Dictator-for-life we could pass his "Peaceful Streets/Quiet Nights" bill and have that right here in America. It would be inconvenient and possibly fatal but you would have a lot of neat stories to tell your grandkids. Just think about it. That's all I ask.

That old lady told us a bunch of funny stories. She told us how she has a blind friend who hangs pictures of werewolves all over her house, because hey, she doesn't have to see them. She's blind. Then the friend makes subtle wolf howls when people come over just to mess with her visitors.

Overall, a good holiday.


Native Minnow said...

I feel your pain about liking an NFL team that sucks. At least I had a few years of Philadelphia dominating the NFC, but those years are gone.

Sounds like you had a good Thanksgiving. I'm glad you did even though you didn't get to leave town for it.

Kris said...

I love the woman who hangs up ugly pictures because she's blind.
That is so awesome.