BY DOROTHY ROSBY
I grew up thinking men invented football to get out of doing the dishes. I had nine siblings. There were a lot of dishes. And my seven brothers flocked to the living room after Sunday dinner, so you can see why I might have thought that.
Despite all those brothers, I didn’t grow up to be a football fan myself. Maybe because during games, there was no room for me on the couch. And being number nine of ten, I was in no position to push anyone else off.
Besides, when you have that many siblings, you consider a majority of them corralled in one room for extended periods of time a welcome respite. And I took full advantage of it. A game on television meant my tormentors were tethered to the TV, oblivious to my comings and goings. I could take Sunday afternoon naps to the sound of a football game. I could use the only bathroom in our home undisturbed. I could have friends over and trust we wouldn’t be harassed. All was right in my little world—unless I walked in front of the television.
And my brothers were occupied for a long time on Sunday afternoons. I learned early that seven minutes left in a game could mean seventeen or twenty-seven. It never meant seven. Giving the time remaining in a football game is like giving your age in dog years.
That’s why, while I may not be fond of professional sports in general and football in particular, I do like the sound of the broadcast. Far from exciting, however, I find it soothing and relaxing. It takes me back to a simpler time.
For ten years, I worked as a radio announcer. I sat through a million sports broadcasts, or so it seemed, plugging in sponsor messages at the right moment—some of the time—and caring not one bit about the outcome of any game. But I loved the sound of the broadcast—just the sound. The nicest compliment I could pay any of my sportscaster friends was “You did such a good job, I dozed off.”
And occasionally I did. More than once I awoke to a strange crackling sound—dead air, as it’s known in the business.
The result of all of this is that I’m clueless about football and other sports, though I am pretty good at dishes—when I set my mind to it.
This is all a long way to explain why, when anyone asks me who I’ll be rooting for in the Super Bowl, I always answer, “The super what?” I’m kidding. I know what the Super Bowl is. I just never know who’s playing in it. Nor do I care. I do, however, know who’s not playing in it.
I find myself married to a man who, having grown up in Minnesota, loves the Minnesota Vikings more than he loves me or the Minnesota Twins. I think he might have mentioned it if the Vikings had made it to the Super Bowl this year.
Still, I’m sure that come Super Bowl Sunday, he will join the 100 million or so people expected to watch the big game. I almost certainly will not, even though I have a dishwasher now and there’s plenty of room on the couch for me.
I may join him for a few minutes though. There are a few things I like about Super Bowl Sunday, mainly the snacks. Some years I show up for the halftime show and I enjoy some of the commercials. But what I like best about the Super Bowl nowadays is the same thing I liked about football when I was growing up: me time. While the big game is on, I read or nap. I come and go as I please. All is right in my world—unless I walk in front of the television.
Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays including Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to
Be Ticked off About, Humorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.