Every year for at least a day, I pretend to know stuff. I eat crap I say I like. I cheer for something I don’t have any interest in. Once a year, to quote Gone Girl, I’m the cool girl.
That’s right. It’s almost Super Bowl time. Only this year, it’s happening in my own backyard – Phoenix. So my cool chick routine began last week as the locals prepare for the onslaught of jersey-wearing snowbirds. The only problem is, I can only be that chick for a day before my narrative falls apart.
So, everywhere I go, I hear: “Who you rooting for? Pats or Hawks?”
Now, I know nothing about football. I don’t even think they should call it football. Rarely is a foot involved in the ball’s progression. The rest of the world got it right when they named soccer football. That makes perfect sense. But if I say this, I’ll be required to show my U.S. birth certificate and I have no idea where it’s filed away. My desk is a nightmare.
“Pats,” I say, because I’m quite certain I’ll lose a certain leg of my extended family if they don’t win. I don’t understand this personal investment people have in a game that made recent headlines for Tom Brady saying he “doesn’t like anyone rubbing his balls.” I mean, how can anyone take a sport like that seriously? A full press conference devoted to a man defending his balls, explaining his process of ball selection like he was a surgeon preparing for a heart transplant on the President of the United States? It’s balls we’re talking about! Not a scalpel that will save lives. ISIS is wreaking havoc on the world and I have to hear about this ball scandal? Holy hell!
Okay, back to my story . . . So I started running into problems with my Pats declaration, especially if this person was a Seahawks fan.
“What?” they declare. “No way! It’s Seahawks all the way.” Then they launch into a bunch of horseshit statistics until I’m visibly ready to tie a noose around my neck. To say I don’t care doesn’t get me off the hook. It’s like a cult, they’re only happy if you drink their Gatorade.
“Oh. Did I say Pats? I meant Seahawks!” Quickly I grab my stuff. “Gotta go now. Nice talkin’ with ya. Go Hawks!”
That worked for a while. But remember, I have a whole week of this and I can’t keep it together for long. The jersey wearers are the best, then I just say their team and go about my business. However, it was only a matter of time before my ignorance would be revealed.
And it happened the other day.
I was at Trader Joe’s, being rung up by delightful man who was convinced dried, fried peas were the best invention since fried potatoes. I agreed. (They sound awful, but are actually quite good.) So conversation is running smoothly. We have common ground. We like our green stuff fried and soaked in oil. But then the conversation turns to the inevitable. He doesn’t even beat around the bush. “Seahawks or Patriots?” he asked.
I look at him hard, trying to determine his team of choice like a gypsy. Well, because he likes green stuff, he could be the crunchy type. And hippies live in the NW. Or is that just the home of grunge? No. No. Hippies come from there too. Therefore he must be for Washington. Yes. He has Seattle written all over his face, or hidden under his beard.
“Seadogs,” I say.
“Seadogs,” I repeat.
“You mean Seahawks?”
“Ah, haahaaa,” I laugh. (I come from a long line of people who butcher names. We try to recover quickly.) “Yeah, I’m just pulling your leg.” Because now I think he’s a Patriots fan, even though I fumbled the name of the Seahawks and described them as pirates, which is entirely possible is another team. But now I think his beard is a bit hipster, and hipsters live in the Northeast, right? Or is that hucksters?
“So you’re a Patriots fan?” he asks.
Uh-oh. I walked right into a big pile of Super Bowl doo. He has backed me into a large, dark corner.
“I’m a Yankees fan.”
“I know. That’s IT for me! I have no more room in my head to root for much else. I like balls that get wacked by a bat into a large and open field. Not balls that are hugged and humped by large men. I love Derek Jeter. He can never be replaced!”
Well that ended nicely. My ball talk at Trader Joe’s got as weird as Brady’s press conference. Ball conversations never end well. I should have remembered that from SNL.
I have one more long week ahead of me . . .