Fans of a Feather…

I’m never going to be a “soccer mom”.

I refuse to drive a mini van.

I didn’t put my kids into club sports.

We had a brief brush with Little League once that featured my son chasing gophers in right field.

Rather than give up thousands of dollars and years of weekends in the snack bar making nachos, we waited for each kid to hit high school and then said, “Good luck with that, kid!”

Watching water polo was fun. Most of the game was under water and the ball tossed around until it went into a goal, just like soccer. I believe the rules were “put the ball into a goal” and “don’t drown”.

Fairly straight-forward.

Also, the uniforms were small and easy to clean.

Cross Country involved watching the kids run off in the distance and ended with them crossing the finish line heaving and staggering and nearly throwing up from 3.1 miles of extreme cardio.

Pretty only at a distance, this sport has only one rule: run. The faster, the better.

The good news: uniform consists of a good pair of shoes.

The bad news: my kids outgrew them every other month.

Indoor sports are nicer to spectate. Weather is minimized and there’s somewhere clean(er) to sit, albeit your butt is going to be numb in about fifteen minutes. It’s stupid. Be prepared.

Basketball moves too fast for the number of rules and strategies involved. I will still be asking “What the heck was that?” and they are already three hoops further down the game.

Also: there are more tackles in this game than football. I want to send my kid onto the court wearing full body bubble pack.

Volleyball, however, has only six kids out there in a zone they stay contained in. The teams are separated by a net, so they have to try to maim each other with the ball instead.

It’s a bit like dodgeball, only you are expected to actually stand in the line of fire and return the ball so they can try again.

When our athletic kids finally got onto a sport team, Hubby had some big league time to make up for in the stands.

Hubby knows more than the coach, sees more than the ref, and comments louder than any highly caffeinated soccer mom I know.

I was distracted by my other kid asking for a dollar for the snack bar, so I didn’t realize he was sitting just behind me, doing what I thought was the wave.

Of one.

Instead, he was trying to signal our son to hit higher over the net or some such coaching advice.

I turned around to see him raising both arms, thumbs hooked together, and bringing them down in a giant secret hand signal. It’s the exact move the audience uses to get Shamu to fling saltwater all over the “wet zone” with his flukes in the show.

I moved to the top bleachers just in case.

He was reminding the kids of secret plays at the top of his lungs.

His feet were pounding, my head was pounding.

Which was bad enough, except all the other parents were getting riled up too.

And then a mom from the opposing team stood up and may have had something negative to say about our team and Hubby may have had something to say in reply that two other parents needed to get verbally involved with which in turn inspired further parents to give their two cents on the subject and the original lady ended up calling Hubby the lowest name she could think of, off the top of her head.

Before the athletic directors and vice principals came over to have a few words about parent role models and school representation, I had slunk far across the bleachers.

I didn’t remind Hubby that “this is just a game”. When it was all over, I walked with him through the parking lot, in stitches over his new nickname: “Big Bird”.

And kept an eye out for the crazy lady who named him.

I bet she drives a mini van.

Stupor Bowl Sunday

An annual highly American life-eclipsing event occurred on Sunday.

Not sure if you caught it.

It garners more attention than our President’s State of the Union Address. Probably because the commercials are better. If Mr Obama would invest more in his half time show than his constituents’ agendas, he would gain some popularity.

I really have no opinion of football.

Thanks to our president, I have that right.

The game’s about as messy as a group of warthogs rooting up truffles and the sock puppet announcers are as entertaining as watching a golf tournament.

So many words. So little to say.

Don’t get me started.

I do, however, enjoy a good party.

By “good” I mean a group of friends on my roster who don’t mind dribbling their guacamole down their shirt fronts while screaming incoherently at the TV over some pass interference by the other team. People who have no problem lounging in awkward positions around the room, cheerfully double-dipping nachos and if strongly provoked, fiercely switching loyalties three-fourths of the way through the game.

I love watching the fans. The more worked up they get, the more entertained I am. When I was in high school, my girlfriends and I formed the “Pep Club”. We were as enthusiastic as the cheerleaders, but got to wear warmer clothes and worked on a consultant basis.

If the fans weren’t doing their job, we stepped in the gap and whipped them into the proper level of frenzy. They had to care about the penalty on that play to the point of storming the astroturf.

This is why my house was set up with Patriot and Seahawk colors, a table groaning under tailgate party snacks, and a giant bingo game for prizes every quarter.

You have to set the stage just right to achieve this level of mayhem.

Turns out, this was a year I didn’t have to try too hard.

For the first time ever, I was sucked into caring, but only at the last minute. When the game began, I chose the Seahawks based on the fact their uniforms contain the color lime green. But when their player caught/fumbled/caught/touchdowned…I mean, that man worked it…I had to give a standing ovation for pure shock factor.

Followed not five minutes later with a barroom brawl that would make every cowboy in the west proud. The refs, not so much.

The game finally showed a little passion.

One year, the Super Bowl failed us. The game was so awful that even the best fans went lukewarm, and by halftime, the party was spiraling into apathy. Not even body paint and jalepeno poppers would have resurrected the vibe.

Had I seen this coming, I would have added “pinatas in the shape of each team’s mascot” to my playbook.

I’m sure a few fans would have been delighted to take a whack at them.

Usually though, most of us are watching purely for the commercials. Which, like the Stupor Bowl, went the opposite way this year. This year, we had cute puppies…almost get eaten by wolves. And little kids…who died young. And if a giant Pac Man Game hadn’t shown up, we would have had to throw the Doritos out the window with disgust.

Seriously. They paid how much to advertise here? And this is what they came up with?

The half time shows, in my humble opinion, aren’t always up to snuff. Sure, if you’re a fan of Katy Perry and pyrotechnics you were watching, but I’m not emotionally invested.

Riding into the stadium on a gold lion: A.  Not falling off of it: A+. Dancing with sharks doing the Macarena and freaky beach balls while wearing a Hot Dog On A Stick uniform? F.

Thank you for totally topping Russia’s Olympic Ceremonies but all I’m thinking about while you’re flying around the stadium singing about fireworks is that your lyrics could easily be screams and I wouldn’t blame you. Duck!!

It’s Tuesday and I’m still finding popcorn under the couch; the sign of a great house party the world over.

My State of the Super Bowl Address:
Come for the fans, always bet on lime green, and if this particular team has to win the trophy….better deflate the top just a teensy bit, yeah?