Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: Fifty Yards for a Gridiron Gal
By Glynis Becker
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“Maybe I just didn't care enough about it until today. But I am turning over a new leaf,” I declared emphatically. “If football matters to you, then as of right now, it matters to me. When does the game start?” I wandered over to the couch, planted myself right next to James, and made sure I nestled in the crook of his arm. If I was going to be here for the next four hours (four hours? Yikes!), I might as well get comfortable.
“In a minute or two. But, sweetheart, can you wait until the commercial? I want to hear what the commentators are saying.” James' attention was drawn back to the four well-suited and well-coiffed men discussing which team has the better secondary and whether the game would focus on running or passing. I tried to pay attention, but I was distracted by the signs fans were holding in the background and all the statistics that kept crawling along the bottom of the screen. None of it made any sense. Was this in English?
Then I heard the jingle for a well-known burger joint. Commercial-time! Now I can ask my questions.
“Okay, honey. Tell me what I need to know to watch this game.” To show him I was serious I picked up a notepad off the telephone stand and held my pencil at the ready.
He had the nerve to laugh. “During a one-minute commercial break? You're kidding, right? I know that you ladies think the game is nothing more than a bunch of guys fighting each other over a little ball, but football is complex. It's about strategy and psychology as well as physical and emotional strength. I appreciate you wanting to understand it, but you're not going to get it in one game.” If I didn't know better I'd think he was upset with me. Why do guys take this stuff so seriously? I was really trying here.
“Come on, sweetie. Just tell me how the game starts and we'll go from there.” I nudged him. “It'll be fun,” I pleaded in my sweetest voice.
Did I just hear him sigh? I must have imagined it. “Alright, then. Here goes: Team A kicks off to Team B. This is a kickoff which is not the same as a punt, but we'll get to that later. One of the Special Teams players catches the ball and runs it back toward the end zone. Wherever he gets stopped by Team A is the line of scrimmage. Team B is now on Offense. The quarterback lines his team up for a play. The center either direct-snaps or long-snaps the ball and the quarterback will hand if off to a runner, throw it to a receiver or decide to run it himself. If the quarterback is tackled before he gets rid of the ball, it's a 'sack' resulting in the loss of as many yards. The offensive team has four downs to get a first down, which is ten yards, otherwise they give the ball back to the other team. Are you getting all of this?” I was too busy breaking the pencil lead furiously writing on my little piece of paper to see the smile on his face.
He gently pulled the pencil out of my hand and looked me in the eye. “Lara, you don't have to learn this all in one afternoon. Just sit back and watch this one. I'll talk you through some of the basics, but don't think you need to be an expert.” He kissed the top of my head as I settled back in his arms. “By the way, how much of that did you get?”
I grinned. “Um, Team A and Team B?”
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