Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / September 29, 1999

So..once a year there comes a time of great rejoicing. This is a time ofjoy, a time of celebration. It’s something that is looked forward to eachyear by men near and far in this fair land. Is it Thanksgiving? No. Is itChristmas? No. Is it a birthday of someone you never knew and really don’tcare about but is a recognized holiday so you can take off from work? No.

Then what is this great occasion that has men trembling with anticipation? Football season.

It’s finally here! It opened, and there was great rejoicing across the land.

The finest excuse imaginable to do absolutely nothing on Sundays except lie on the couch, eat unhealthy fattening things, and guzzle large quantities of adult beverages is here at last. And we men will pay homageto these very things every Sunday (and Monday night, of course) for the next sixteen weeks, not including playoffs and Superbowl. And we willfrequently get together with others of our gender and make hooting and grunting noises and scratch happily as we watch our much-anticipated favorite sport. We may even use bad language from time to time as thesuccess or failure of the plays dictate. Ahhhh. Life is suddenly good.That rumbling sound you hear in the distance isn’t an approaching thunderstorm either. It’s the collective grumbling of darn near every wifeand girlfriend in the country. This is the time of when words like”shiftless” and “lazy” will be used in American households everywhere. Idon’t mind when my wife says these things during football season, although I do take exception to the word “lazy.” In this instance I preferto climb aboard the train of Political Correctness and think of it as being “Energy Challenged.” Anyway, just to get this out of the way, all youladies out there repeat after me, all together now. Ready? “All you wantto do every Sunday is watch football! You are useless. Useless!” There. You’ve all said it. We’ve all heard it. And we’re all ignoring it, eventhough we all know it will cost us dearly later. Accept it, Grasshopper. So just what is there about football that will cause a man to disregard his instinct for self-preservation that way? I mean, normally most of us who have been married for a while can anticipate displeasing our chosen partners and will avoid it at all costs. (C’mon, Bill, have one more. Nopebetter not, I, uh, gotta get up really early in the morning. Yeah, that’s it!Gotta get up early! Bye now.) That excuse never fools the other guys, bythe way, but we accept it gracefully because we just may be the one that has to use it next time. But when its time for football we become CouchKamikazes and display a reckless disregard for our own domestic safety that would have us appalled at any other time of year.

One of the problems with this is the fact that we will promise almost anything to be left alone while we watch the game. My wife, being a cleverwoman, has long since snapped to the fact that she can get long term commitments from me if she starts to pester me on football Sunday. I findmyself, weeks or even months later, doing things that I most normally would resort to self-mutilation to avoid, all because she catches me at weak moments during football season. All because I promised I would dowhatever she asked as she stood in front of the screen if she would just let me, please baby please, watch this one game. I think I’m being cleverat the time usually, but they don’t forget. Ever. They will remember anyand all promises made and will totally disregard the fact that mild extortion methods were used to obtain them. And sooner or later you willend up in Guy Hell, which is shopping with your significant other someplace like the ladies section of Macy’s. But you promised, so there. So what is it about football? Easy. If you compare other sports to football,they become mild and about as entertaining as Barney The Purple Dinosaur.

When it comes to watching sports on television, some just don’t cut it. Forinstance: Tennis. May as well watch chess. Golf. I’d rather pound a nail intomy forehead with the heel of my shoe. Bowling. My remote control thumbtwitches at the thought. Baseball. Entertain-ing only if your chosen teamis somewhere near the top of their division. Soccer. Fun to watch inperson, but a contaminant of the airways. And finally, basketball. Funduring the playoffs, but not really an attention-getter until then. Maybeit’s just me.

The bottom line is that football is great entertainment. And it’s one of theonly sports you can enjoy even if your team isn’t so good. You just pickanother one and watch them. It’s still fun. And there is one more bottomline that just can’t be ignored.

No matter how you diagnose it, dissect it, examine it, or debate it, one fact remains that will always stick in the craw of the Politically Correct elite: It’s a guy thing.

Lee Dresselhaus is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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