Overseas, not having any contact with college or pro sports of any kind, we had to figure out how to play the game: whether football, basketball, or baseball -- from scratch.
I had no idea what was supposed to happen or any of the rules. No TV to watch. No live games.
No one told me. I was about 13. I knew how to play marbles and ride a bike.
I enjoyed basketball as it seemed pretty straightforward. Run to the other team's basket and try to get a ball in the hoop without fouling. I didn't know what all the stripes on the court meant. Got the hang of it and enjoyed it.
Baseball was also a lot of fun. Not much running, a lot of chattering, stay put until something happens. Cool mitts, neat to hit a ball and run the bases. Rules minimal.
(I need to add here that there was a bit of social injustice in middle and high school. The coach's sons were always playing first string and the heroes. Well, they deserved it because they were ably taught what to do by their Dads who were sports hero wannabes. oops! And then parents were always in trouble with either the coach, the umpires or refs, their husbands and wives - for ogling each other - during the practices and games. In fact, this type of parading around with a younger spouse or whatever is still seen today in pro sports and especially visible during pro basketball games!)
Flag football in middle school was a killer. I had no idea what first down even meant. I was told to get on a line and wait for 'hike' and try to down the guy on the other side with the ball. '1st down and five to go' had no meaning for me. Extra points? Interesting.
I was a softy and maybe due to my heart murmur (which Mom and Dad didn't want to hold me back with) I was totally exhausted from the practices we had. It was grueling. Not fun. I would come home wiped out, take an hour bath, eat dinner and stare at my homework until I passed out. I had to quit after a couple of months because my grades were suffering.
We moved to a different city and it was Senior year. Football season came along and I was in. I was playing guard. Oh boy. That means that you get on a three-point stance and then barrel forward, crashing into the guy in front of you.
I was in on the kickoffs and then waiting out the entire game. I felt I wasn't valuable. And since I had a bit of time for brain thinking I figured out that I was simply practice meat for the rest of the team. I was also learning how to play guitar at the time.
One practice I was on my three-point and getting bowled over by the first string guard in a scrimmage. I finally looked over his stance and noticed he was down low on two hands. I looked at his hands and noticed they were cleat eaten and gnarled. That was it.
A couple of games later I put it all together in my head and grabbed my equipment and jersey, tromped over to the coach's office and placed them on his desk saying: "Mr. Klatt, I am resigning my commission" and walked out without saying anything else. He looked astonished.
I can play my guitar to this day while many of my high school jock buddies have undergone hip replacements and knee surgeries. Not me. I am happy.
We did have season's tickets a couple of years to the Orlando Magic pro basketball team but lost interest as all the good players dropped out...
And I have no idea to this day, who will be playing who in the Super Bowl. I may watch two minutes of it. I have other things to do --like play my guitar!
Thank you Anna Banana for sponsoring this football fun contest as I have finally gotten this off of my chest!!