Subourbon Mom

NFL Gladiators
December 5, 2012, 12:19 pm
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , , , , ,

I love football. I was at the Giants/Redskins game on Monday night, and I loved every minute of it—and not just because I’m a Redskins fan (but how awesome was that? RG3 is being hailed as the Second Coming).

I love watching men grunt and throw each other to the ground. I love the superior athleticism on display as they launch themselves into the air, or chase the quarterback to the ground like lions after a wildebeest. I love the rhythm of the game, as the fan noise swells and crests, only to fall again as a play disintegrates. I even love the referees’ shrieking whistles and drunken bellows from the crowd. I’ve learned a lot of new insults over the years, especially sitting in the cheap seats.

But most of all, I love the visceral, instinctive reaction within myself that makes my stomach clench and my fist pump in the air as I scream at my flat screen. As much as I’m ashamed to admit it, I can’t turn away when a player gets hurt—the worse the better. Inside, I feel terrible that this man’s career is probably over, and his wife and family will have to help him find a new career, or even spend months in rehab with him, but I still watch the replays and cringe when a leg or arm snaps like a twig.
Watching football is probably about as close as today’s polite society will ever come to feeling like a Roman citizen watching the Gladiators battle to the death in the Coliseum.

The similarities to our Roman ancestors are interesting (and a little disturbing):

• The players are giants among men, trained and fed for one purpose: to defeat their opponents in violent contact while fans watch;

• Players have sponsors and backers, although their rewards are money and adulation, not just favors to make their meager lives as prisoners and slaves more bearable;

• Fans can be roused from sitting quietly with beers cradled in their hands to raging heart-attacks-waiting-to-happen with spittle flying from their lips within a matter of seconds;

• 80,000 fans chant the names of their favorite players, much like the fans of old chanted the name of their Ceasar. Did anyone hear the fans cheering for RG3? There is something eerie about hearing so much humanity calling one name—it gets into your blood until you find yourself chanting right along with them, even though you know it’s only a game, and the guy isn’t saving the world, just your playoff hopes.

• Calls for blood still ring out from the stands;

• Even our stadiums still resemble the old Coliseum—tiered seats, the arrival of the combatants from beneath the stadium, and beer and food hawked from the stands, and the elite still watch from a polite distance in their box seats; the peasants peer at the show form the nosebleed seats;

• But most disturbing of all is that we haven’t changed. We still love a good fight—UFC, boxing, football, even tennis (have you heard the constipated grunting? What is that?). We love a good fight.

None of this changes my Sunday routine—church (how hypocritical is that?), snacks and football until my eyes bleed. Maybe it’s a good thing, this blood-letting may even absorb some primal energy we have, preventing some violence further down the road. Why yell at your kids when you can safely yell at your tv?

Tomorrow night is Thursday, the new Sunday in the NFL—Are you ready for some football???

4 Comments so far
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Good one Libby!


Comment by Elizabeth Milligan

Love watching NFL, sure, but it is inifinetly more fun watching women do it


Comment by panovision101

Loved it! That said this really makes me want to see the upcoming season of Spartacus on STARZ! 😉


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