OK, grandmothers of America, it's time to tackle a new job: Learn a little bit about the game of football.
Football fans aren't just men anymore, like they were when you were growing up. Oh no.
As a matter of fact, so many women are going to football games these days that the famed Pittsburgh Steelers, known for epitomizing the male ideal of violent football, are now selling pink football shirts. It's all to lure in the ladies.
So, ladies of a certain age, if you wish to bond with your daughters and daughters-in-law, at least you might want to learn some of the terminology of football.
I figure I am as good a teacher as anyone. My alma mater, Rutgers, invented the college game back in 1869. It took Rutgers more than a century of practice to field a team worthy of the name but now Rutgers has one of the best teams in the nation. Even my wife, who learned the value of football early in life because she attended a pigskin citadel, Notre Dame, gives Rutgers grudging credit this year - particularly since the Fighting Irish are fielding their worst football team in about a century. Even Rutgers, which last lost to Notre Dame by 40 points, could beat the Irish this year.
Anyhow, ladies, here are a few points to discuss the next time your daughter comes over to watch a game.
Football has little to do with the foot anymore. It's not about kicking the ball very much. It's about running and throwing it.
The object is to move the ball 100 yards down the field across the other team's goal line. That's worth six points. The other team tries to stop you by throwing the man with the ball on the ground as violently as possible. That's called tackling.
Now, let's face it. Football is a violent sport. Perhaps, that is why the gentler sex has been unimpressed at this obvious display of oversexed manhood. There are many injuries. If you see an athletic looking 50-year-old limping around, he is, no doubt, suffering from the effects of his football injuries decades ago. Sometimes, players are actually killed on "the fields of friendly strife."
But the fact is that football is here to stay. Ignoring it just puts you outside the mainstream of American life-particularly in this TV age.
To show your knowledge, you can shout out an occasional epithet at the TV screen. Here's one: "Why in the world did you throw the ball from the end zone, you idiot? You should have known it would have been intercepted for a touchdown."
Or how about, "Go for it on fourth down. Show that you have guts."
You may find that autumn takes on an entire new meaning for you. Take Thanksgiving, for example, which used to be the traditional end of the season until it was gradually extended into December. That was a time when wives got their husbands back after watching them glued to the TV set every weekend.
The wives were so thankful that they cooked Thanksgiving dinner. But in the new age, women won't have time to cook because they will be watching the big Thanksgiving games, too.
So, that means, you guessed it, hubby gets to take the missus out to dinner - and they can rehash the game together.
E-mail Joe Volz at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to 2528 Five Shillings Road, Frederick, MD 21701.
© Copley News Service