A Girl, Four Guys & Football
Around my house I’m outnumbered. I’m pink in a world of blue. Three sons, one husband. When everyone else stands up, I’m sitting down. I’m the only girl in a house full of guys, and it’s lonely. No one to show new shoes to. No one to care about a bra sale at Kohl’s. No one to share clothes with.
So how does a lone girl even the playing field when she lives with four guys? By picking up her game. Her football game, that is.
With my days bombarded with ESPN (the TV station and the Magazine), I learned quickly how to be in with the in-crowd. And with this crowd, you have to know football. That’s why I chime in on discussions about a team’s defense or chances for a Wild Card bid as though I were sharing my recipe for Cheeseburger Soup. I throw words like depth-chart, Wing T and free safety around with apparent abandon. Someday I hope to actually learn what they mean.
The real test of fitting in with these guys comes in the mastery of the Fadden Football Pool, known around here as the FFP. Each week we predict the outcome of the week’s football match-ups. It’s a simple contest with simple rules: Someone, usually my husband, Nick, cuts out the odds board from the sports page of the daily paper and tapes it to the official FFP clipboard. The rest of us take turns writing our prognostications on the official FFP tally sheet.
We’ve enjoyed this light-hearted family rivalry for 20 seasons. Starting in late August through the January playoffs – even when a son was away at college and had to phone in his choices or someone has the flu — one thing can be counted on, the FFP.
With player names like Daddray, MegaMom, SonicShawn, Jakeman and $ethMoney, the gloves are off each week to have your moniker posted as the winner. Luckily for me, a few years ago, the gender scales were rebalanced slightly, with the addition of RedGhost and CaptainScallywaggs. Come game time, any one of us can be found holding the clipboard where the prediction sheet is secured. In the other hand, a yellow marker ready to highlight the winning teams.
Here we’ve found a common ground — girl and boy alike. Mastering the FFP takes the perfect blend of football smarts, a sense of humor and a whole lotta luck. It doesn’t matter if your cologne is Windsong or Aramis.
With 32 teams and 16 match-ups most weeks, the total number of wins possible varies during the season. There have been weeks when I’ve been crowned champion before the Monday Night Football coin toss. There have also been times when my win total was less than my shoe size.
Each Sunday, we gather in front of big screens to watch the players, listen to the commentators and make a few comments of our own. As I claim my seat in the recliner, water bottle in one hand and a bag of Scoops tortilla chips in the other, I’m hoping that it will be my name emblazoned as the week’s winner.
But winning isn’t what matters. I’ve already won because I love the camaraderie I share with Nick, and my sons, Shawn, Jake and Seth. They don’t want to spend time scrap booking. My requests to go to afternoon tea have fallen on deaf ears. No takers to join me for a pedicure.
But just mention the football pool and we chat up a storm. Not knowing if Green Bay’s punter has a pulled groin or Atlanta’s quarterback is out for the week, I still manage to fake conversation with the best of ‘em. Just because I’m outnumbered doesn’t mean I have to be outsmarted.
Nike turf or natural grass, we’ve found a common ground and it’s green with white lines. Just perfect for a pink girl in a blue world.