Girding the gridiron loins

It’s that time of year when we move the ol’ rocker from its familiar front porch monitoring perch to the rear patio where your obedient curmudgeon has the ideal setup for another type of observation…a pair of TVs stacked for tandem viewing.

Yep friends, neighbors and addicts of that other porkskin, it’s the fifth (and justifiably most important) season of the year, especially here in the South. Football season begins, and kindergarteners in adult bodies can rematerialize from a multi-month hibernation/withdrawal.

And as the woman who promised to love, honor and select trustworthy telemarketers says, it’s a time when wives know where that other half will be Medusaized Thursday through Monday for the next six months. 

Football is more than THE season. It’s a reason. A purpose. It’s the quintessential character transference. Few sports can transform a happy, normal, mentally balanced individual into a Tasmanian Devil at the drop of a penalty flag or a flubbed field goal. 

Who knew Mr. Sofaspud could have made that cutback the running back didn’t see; could easily have nailed that 30-yard post pattern his team’s quarterback overthrew; would never have called the stupid play his multi-millionaire coach just blew; can certainly see the difference between pass interference and great cornerback play.

Few sports can move the passion meter from zero to 100 in 0.1 seconds. Across our fair country houses will be divided by a kickoff. On the college level, think rivalry and we think Ohio St./Michigan; Alabama/Auburn; Ole Miss/Miss. State; Cal/Stanford. Up on the hill at Menagerie Manor, it’s LSWho?/Arkansas. 

There are rivalries at all levels, from high school through the pros. And that’s what’s made football America’s favorite sport. Sorry baseball. Football is the ultimate void filler. Our entertainment extraordinaire. Some condemn the violent nature of the game, but that Romanesque gladiatorial seductiveness of the sport seems to feed our addiction.

Football is a befuddlement. What else causes a seemingly sane individual to converse with an electronic product, knowing it cannot respond. What else can create sounds from seemingly sane individuals ranging from those similar in volume of Mount St. Helens to others only dogs can hear.

Football brings out the best and the beast. It lures individuals to try and turn hard-earned dollars into the lucre of lady luck. The dream of turning simoleon into opulence is everyman’s, odds and team talent (plus a tad of Lady Luck) permitting. Mostly, the dream becomes the reality of weep, wail, wait ’til next week.

Whatever. For many weeks, we’ll tune in, assume the position and morph into a hypnotic state. We’ll paint our faces, wear our favorite number jersey, snack ’till we pop, pop an adult beverage and hope Nature doesn’t call when we’re down by four on fourth and goal from the one with two seconds left in the game. 

Final thoughts: Is it possible to get at least a month into the college season before we start this dadgum Heisman Trophy watch? A foot hasn’t made contact (except Notre Dame/Navy) and we’re already hearing the “Favorites To Win It” list. For pigskin sake, dudes. Let ’em play now, get paid later.

And while we’re on the subject, the award was created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 to recognize “the most valuable college football player” east of the Mississippi. After the death of the club’s athletic director, John Heisman in October of 1936, the award was expanded to include players west of the Mississippi. 

Simply put, the award was meant to honor the best football player in America. That has changed, thanks to  “journalists” who have 870 votes and the media talking head experts. Listen to the talkalogues and we hear the trophy shall go to the best player on a winning/top-ranked team. Not.

Checking the winners, that aforementioned trend is etched in bronze. But your humble fanatic believes a 2,000 yard rusher on a winless team could be the stone-cold best player in the country. Wish the know-betters would re-read the Heisman standards. But why change a money-making machine.