Football And Family Go Together


In the world of football, last Sunday’s game was a big one – The New England Patriots vs. The Pittsburgh Steelers. The winner will go on to the AFC Championship Playoffs. Making it even more interesting - these two teams have been in the same arena exactly 10 times in the history of football.

Do I care? Not really.

I wouldn’t have known these facts if not for my 91 year old mother’s presence in my living room, glued to the TV with my husband and daughter. A rabid football fan since the early days of dating my dad, Mom regaled us with spot-on observations throughout the three hour game:

... Lewis is a great back... 

... Pass interference is the toughest call in football...

... The Patriots do great in the red zone...

... The Steelers time of possession was hurting us...

... Gronk has soft hands...

... They didn’t have possession, and,

... (over at the Niners game) - Jimmy Garapolo has the nicest smile!

Personally, I am neither a face painter, nor a casual footballer, and therefore have no idea what most of these things mean. But Mom is a bona fide football fanatic, capable of accurate play by play commentary, all of which elicited confirmatory head nods from her co-fans in the room on Sunday. 

The three of them spoke in a secret code that, try as hard as I may, I will never understand.

No, I was a mere spectator and host, sitting on the sidelines “watching” the game for exactly two reasons: 1) I live there, and 2) it was a big day for Mom. Whenever she can spend time someplace other than her own apartment, it’s a worthy event.

Hoping to contribute a little something to the sports banter, I asked Mom:

Isn’t it nice to watch the game on a big-screen TV, Mom?... 70 inches, with Hi-Def, a sound bar and a woofer...?

She replied:

Well, it isn’t really much different than my own TV...  

(Really? Mom has a 13 inch box with 4 inches of rim, No-Def and a squeak box, situated 15 feet from her viewing spot on the couch. Apparently she’s not actually “going blind” or “deaf as a post” as she claims, and my husband and I should return the 50 inch flat screen, Hi-Def TV we just bought her for Christmas. Good to know...)

Back at the game, even I could see this was a particularly good one. The score was close, and with 34 seconds left in the 4th quarter and no more time outs, Jesse James scored a touchdown! But close review showed Jesse didn’t have possession of the ball, and the touchdown was reversed. The Patriots prevailed 27-24! How could I even know that, if not at least passively, watching and interested in the game?

After an afternoon jam packed with food, fun and football, I walked Mom back to her apartment next door where she thanked me for a wonderful time. Giving her a hug, I realized how few opportunities I get to give Mom a proper, upright hug, so I held her just a little longer; long enough for her football machismo to dissipate, and for my sweet little old mother to re-inhabit her body. Within minutes she’d moved on to expressing her growing concern about finishing her Christmas Cards and obtaining more stamps.  

It had been long day, but it seemed Mom had taught me a thing or two about football, and just maybe, her time spent in front of that 70 inch TV screen brought her some joy as well.



Emily GaffneyComment