Maintaining Cred as an American Guy


I’m not a football fan, though I’ve spent enough hours watching games to keep myself from being deported. As everyone knows, the government keeps tabs on everything connected with our electronic devices, so I know my TV is rigged to rat me out if I don’t watch the minimum number of football games required to keep me listed as an American male in good standing. It’s a widely understood rule of citizenship that those who fail to maintain enough viewing hours are designated as un-American, and thus subject to expulsion. If we don’t watch football, the terrorists have won.

I used to be in less jeopardy of deportation back when I was an avid consumer of alcoholic beverages. Like most American guys, I found that televised football provided a socially acceptable excuse to get loaded on weekends while engaging in ritualistic hooting and hollering with my fellow males, an activity generally assumed to confirm our status as committed heterosexuals.

But once I gave up booze, the idea of spending Sunday afternoons indoors watching younger and infinitely more physically fit men concussively collide with one another began to lose appeal. Besides that, the ledger I kept hidden from my wife began to reveal the fact that my football bets were showing a distinctly unprofitable pattern.

It also began to dawn on me that there was something irrational in the pride many of us guys were taking in the NFL team based in the city closest to where we lived. Why should we take pride in living in proximity to a place where there was a big tax-payer subsidized sports stadium that gouged us for tickets, parking, hot dogs, and beer? And how much had “we” actually contributed to victory when “our” team won? Since virtually none of the players we rooted for were born or reared in our communities, how was it we could take pride in what they accomplished by attempting to knock down their fellow helmeted millionaires? Aren’t they all owned by wealthy people who usually don’t even reside in the cities that built the Skyboxes for them, thus keeping well-heeled owners far from the rubes holding noisy tailgate parties out in the parking lot? The players who confer pride on us are not the product of our local coaches, schools, churches, or colleges. So what is it about these guys that makes them “ours”? How does their last minute field-goal triumph over another city’s mercenaries make me superior to those poor schlubs who live nearer the metropolis that suffered that shameful civic humiliation?

This coming Sunday, I’ll be rooting for Seattle. I once lived an hour south of there, so it only makes sense to cheer the Seahawks. I kinda liked Denver, but really, what pride could I take in athletes wearing the jerseys of such a distant city? I have spent a couple of hours in the Denver airport during layovers, but not enough to engender the civic pride that comes from actually having lived near that town.

In any event, I will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, eating guacamole, and sipping non-alcoholic beverages in order to maintain my status as an American. I wouldn’t want the NSA to catch me doing anything else during those consecrated hours.




  1. Murray Suid says:

    Jaime, you’ve powerfully illuminated many of my thoughts about the vapidity of watching sports–a totally different activity than engaging in sports.

    When I found myself wondering if I was addicted to being a spectator, I decided to give up watching sports for a year. Also, I gave up listening to sportstalk radio and reading accounts of games in the press.

    Avoiding sports in the U.S. isn’t easy. The newspaper’s front page often features sports articles. Many restaurants–and not just bars– have large screen TVs tuned to sporting events. Overheard conversations frequently are about the local team.

    I don’t usually believe in conspiracy theories, but when I consider the ubiquity of sports–and recall the ancient Roman concept of giving people circuses to distract them from issues that really mattered, e.g., never-endingwar.

  2. Barry Choomgang says:

    Did anyone else notice he wrote the exact same crap TWICE IN A ROW?

    Six paragraphs of crap followed by six paragraphs of the exact same crap.

    Hey Murray, you supposedly read it, and are still chapping your lips on Jame’s ass without catching the HUGE error?
    Looks like BOTH of you are insane.

  3. Amy Olson says:

    Looks like there was an upload error and Jaime’s column double posted. Our apologies, it’s been corrected now.

  4. Mauser says:

    Looks like there was an error in choosing a writer.