I've decided to pay more attention to American Football, at least for the next few weeks. Mainly because I just received a jersey* for Christmas from my brother Nathaniel.
The number of professional sports teams playing in Alaska can be counted on one hand that has lost all its fingers, so my family has always favored the Boston teams in honor of my father's youth. The Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots - these were the logos that graced the walls and ball caps of my brothers.
For some reason I was never bitten by the bug that infected my siblings. Instead of pouring over sports statistics and computing batting averages, I just did my math homework. Instead of Topps baseball cards, I collected porcelain dolls and Star Trek memorabilia. Sports was okay, but mostly it was just an excuse for the males in my house to get free reign with the TV. I remember hours and hours of sports on the family television, including one particularly memorable Sunday when we had to watch the SuperBowl instead of the twenty-four hour musical marathon that TNT was hosting.
But in the spirit of joining those you cannot beat, I have gradually become a sports enthusiast by osmosis. I'll sit and take in a game. I'll ask questions. I'll get emotionally involved. Still, at best you could only categorize me as a casual fan. A social watcher.
Now, though, the stakes are higher because I have this jersey. And I have some English friends who expect me to have Belichick's playbook memorized. And the Pats are going to be playing in the SuperBowl** while I'm in the UK.
So I'd better bone up on my NFL lingo if I ever hope to represent.
It's all about Special Teams.
*Number 81, Randy Moss
**Unless the earth swallows the entire team up in some sort of freakish catastrophe.