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Sports Rules

December 1, 2013

It was the last day of rifle season.

The Vikings were playing the Packers.

The weather was nasty… cold and windy. Jim flirted with the idea of staying home and watching the game instead of hunting.

Then a friend called and invited Jim to close out the deer season by going hunting together. That put him over the edge… he chose friendship over football.

After he left the house, I went upstairs to sew, leaving the TV on as background noise so the dogs wouldn’t bark at the noise of the sewing machine. When I finished my project, I came back down and walked into the living room just as the game was going into overtime. I was a little surprised… I don’t understand much about football, but even I knew that was significant. I left the game on and tried to follow it so I could give Jim the highlights when he came home.

It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and we had our Community Thank Offering Service at church that evening. When Jim came home, he’d have to do a quick wardrobe change so we could head out the door and make it to church a little early to help set up the pie and coffee for fellowship after worship.

Jim walked into the house, red-faced from the wind and cold, set his rifle in the corner and shed his blaze orange garb.

“The Vikings didn’t win.” I said.

“Figures… they haven‘t been playing well all season.” He grumbled.

“Neither did the Packers…” I continued.

He stopped cold. “WHAT?!” He exclaimed.

Once inside the church, we carted our pies into the kitchen, and returned to the sanctuary. We had a few minutes before the service started, so I began to relate the details of the game.

“They were tied at 23 at the end of the fourth quarter,” I explained. “The Packers got the ball first in overtime and failed to make a touchdown. They did make one of those three-point thingies, though.”

He stared at me. I’m not quite sure if he was more amazed by the fact that the Vikings and Packers had a tie game, or because I knew the score and was recounting the details with relative accuracy.

I continued to explain…“Then the Vikings’ got the ball and they couldn’t close the deal, either. But THEY made a three-point thingie, too! The final score was 26-26.”

“You’re hopeless!” Nell, seated behind us, interjected. “A three-point thingie?”

“I don’t understand football! I really had to concentrate to get this much out of it.” I defended myself.

“Married to Jim? You don’t understand football and you’re married to Jim?” She said incredulously. “You have a Super Bowl party every year!”

“The party’s about the people and the food for me.”

Nell chuckled. “You’re hopeless…” She teased.

Marilyn, seated next to Nell, and I began to talk as Nell filled Jim in on the game.

“I don’t understand football, either,” she confided.

I admitted that most sports make no sense to me… except baseball.

I understand baseball. The pitchers pitch, hitters hit, catchers catch, basemen play the bases, and the outfielders are in the outfield: left, right and center. “One run equals one point. That makes sense. The only thing that’s a little screwy about baseball is that they run counter-clockwise around the bases… but that’s probably because most of the players hit right-handed so I guess it‘s okay.”

Football is different. I know the quarterback throws the ball… what I don’t get is why they don’t just call him a thrower or something. Just what is a quarterback a quarter back from? And what’s with the half back or the full back? Then there‘s special teams… isn‘t that confusing?” Marilyn nodded.  I went on. “The ball is thrown to the receivers. I get that part.”

Marilyn laughed. Nell was trying not to. Jim rolled his eyes.

“And the scoring in football! Six points for a touchdown, three points for something else and one point for another thing. I just don‘t understand.”

“Then, there’s the tailback. Explain that…” I was on a roll. “And I don’t even want to know what a tight end does!”

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