Thursday, February 7, 2019

When Bad Football Happens to Good People

This past Sunday we were all hurt. Go ahead, let it out, we’re all feeling it. Football season is over and that, that is how it ended.

We expected some discomfort because we were being forced to watch the insufferable Patriots again. But the level of pain we were subjected to was a shock. Missed field goals, dropped passes, bad passes, bad officiating, missed blocks, missed tackles, punt after punt after punt, no scoring.

At the party I attended people were openly weeping, begging deities of all religions to save us. My brother converted to Rastafarianism thinking the music of Eek-a-Mouse would calm his transient nausea, but the last I saw he was in the corner mumbling about not having enough hair to grow dreadlocks. The rest of us called in a pastor for an explanation. We had done nothing wrong, so why were we being punished? As the seconds wound down on the first quarter the pastor himself was on his knees crying to the heavens “Oh God why hast thou forsaken us? They can’t even kick a field goal!”

Mid-way through the second quarter we were so lost we called in a philosopher to help us with our existential dread. His Jean-Paul Sartre quotes of “man is a useless passion” and “nothingness haunts being” were not helpful. By the time he was deep into Nietzsche’s treatise on the abyss we were angry. Punching him wasn’t soothing so we kicked him instead which acted as a mild balm for our wounds. We left him outside contemplating the puddle of snot pooling around his nose and mumbling Heidegger nonsense.

The game was a brutal examination of ineptitude that we dragged behind us like a boat anchor. “Maybe the half time show will cheer us up,” we thought. Music is a great healer.

I think it was my sister who snapped first. “Turn it off, turn it off!” she yelled. “Music isn’t supposed to sound like that!” Every note was like a pill caught in our collective throats. The air became heavy and unbreathable. With each article of clothing Adam Levine took off, the songs got exponentially worse until it sounded like a combination of Mongolian throat singing and Coldplay.

We were barely hanging onto our sanity by the time the second half started. We watched the whole 3rd quarter under the influence of peyote, hoping to hallucinate a good game. It started off ok as I saw Joe Montana riding a white stallion, throwing passes with both hands to a thousand receivers named Jerry. Unfortunately, a dragon from my niece’s delusion invaded mine and ate Montana. After that the field melted into an ice cream bar filled with trolls, loose change and multiple Walter Matthaus.

The end of the game was chaos. One of my brother’s had his head buried in the cheese dip murmuring “I can’t watch anymore, I can’t.” My sister, on the edge of a nervous breakdown since halftime, was reading Dickens loudly to drown out Tony Romo’s voice: “ ‘IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES . . .’ ” My other brother was on eBay trying to win an auction for an ICBM to blow up the stadium but kept getting out-bid by a penny by some Russian account. My niece took more peyote and was lying prone on the floor. “I’m righteous,” was all she said when asked any question. I was outside walking the neighborhood ringing a bell shouting “10 o’clock and all is not well, 10 o’clock and all is not well.”

What happened to all of us on Sunday was unfair. As football fans, casual gamblers and people who just like eating at parties, we deserved better. Baseball season starts in a few weeks. Perhaps the boredom of that will erase the bad memories of Super Bowl 53.