Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"What The Clash and the Pittsburgh Steelers Have In Common."

Since I was nine, I have watched football. I distinctly remember the Cincinnati Bengals playing the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XVI. (I also remember being the only kid in my class who knew that was "16") I asked the kids at school who they wanted to win and they all said the Niners. So I picked the Bengals, even though I never heard of a "Bengal" and probably didn't know where Cincinnati was.

Okay, I knew. They also had a cool rock radio station there.

The point is, I watched football every fall with my family. It was normal. It is what I did if I was home on Sundays during the "-ber" months. And, lets' face it, I was always home. Sometime in high school I let it slip that I was going to chill out and enjoy the late game on Sunday and I received my first "Oh my God, you watch football???!!"

"Yes" I replied sheepishly. I thought that's what everybody did. Doesn't everyone watch 300 pound millionaires smash heads together while a retired coach-turned color commentator uses a telestrator to draw yellow circles around there butt sweat? Doesn't every mom, dad, son and daughter, absorb thousands of hours of pickup truck, beer and salty snack ads? What the hell else do you do on a Sunday anyway?

So I caught a bunch of shit for doing what millions of Americans do without criticism.

But it never stopped. I was drawn to people to whom football was a nonentity. It was tough. For awhile I wanted to hide my tradition (again, shared by tens of millions) from my circle of people who apparently had no idea John Elway had to wait so long for two championships or that the Bills went to four straight Super Bowls and lost all of them.

Man, that sucked.

Instead of analyzing to death I just carried on and made my wife a convert after a decade or so. She succumbed.

There is a little part of me that insists on watching the games every year. I can walk a way a lot easier; and living on the west coast makes that a cinch with the sheer amount of losers that play out here. (Sorry. Montana and Elway are long gone.) For some reason, I think it is a small burning ember of punk I've had nestled in the base of my skull that is to blame. So why would I continue such an endeavor without reason, support or monetary gain?

It's simple. Punk. I'm gonna do it anyway. But first, I have to explain. Not a fan of punk. Understand punk. I get punk. Don't need much. Punk is more of a seasoning that a foodstuff. A dab will do ya.

Punk can be summed up in an equation. What you love and believe in ≠ what I love and believe in. What you love I hate and what you hate I love. Punk is the pure, boiled down essence, the demi-glace, of being sixteen years old.

I like that. But I don't live that.

The Punk element is the reason I will watch football tomorrow at ten in the morning and enjoy myself. It is probably why my son plays Pop Warner football. It is why my wife can name a dozen starting quarterbacks. It is part of my stupid personality.

And, now that I think about it, punk is also the reason I picked the Bengals to win when I was in fourth grade. I bet on the fear of the underdog. I knew they weren't the favorites to win. I wanted them to win anyway.

But…they still lost.

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