I’ve seen football “training camps” for women crop up all over the country in the last few years. The following was taken from the Falcons web site regarding an upcoming event here in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons Women’s Association invites fans to the Falcons Football Academy to learn the Xs and Os of football through hands-on instruction from current and former Falcons players. Enroll in the NFL 101 session to learn the basics of the game through hands-on instruction, or in the NFL 201 session to learn what the pros know including an opportunity to participate in a flag football game!
I started my love for football as a member of the “Ocean of Soul”, Virginia Union University’s marching band. (sounds like jali’s a talented musician, doesn’t it? Nope. I was a pom-pom girl and proud of it! We were high stepping cuties in great uniforms IMHO) For a time, I considered the actual football game to be the intermission between performances of the band and knew almost nothing beyond the fact that the uniforms looked good on some of the players from the back and that we were supposed to play a hot song after every touchdown. During one of these intermissions I asked one the guys about the 1st, 2nd, 3rd down thing and why the numbers kept changing as the team made it’s way down the field. After he explained that actual lightbulb going off in my head moment happened and I started paying attention to what was happening on the field. (and finally cheered at the right moments thank you very much)
I’m from NYC and the Jets and the Giants are our local teams. There’s an unwritten rule that one must choose one or the other – we’re not supposed to root for both teams and my decision was made by my father (the controller of all things electronic in our home – this may have been one of the first man laws) who was an avid Giants fan. It’s pretty simple to pick the team you get to watch regularly.
Well, kind of regularly… If the game was a sell out, then we were able to watch it on TV. If the game wasn’t forecast to be a sell out then we would literally drive to Dover, De. to watch the game. My father loved the idea of a road trip and the opportunity to hang with his Brother-In-Law and partner in crime, my Uncle Dave. They would drive to Maryland (where beer is sold on Sundays) and get ready for some football! The games may not have been actually blacked out, but since my father was the Emperor of our home and all he surveyed, his word on this was never questioned. I remember even catching a ride up from VUU to Delaware to surprise my Dad one weekend to learn that he decided not to make the trip, and that I was stuck with very little money and classes in Virginia the next day. My family pulled together (after the game of course) and put me on the train and I made it back safely. I decided to concentrate on college football (and my grades too, I suppose) for the rest of the semester.
I didn’t return to regular cheering for the Giants until the 1980’s. I married and had children in the 70’s and found other things to occupy my Sunday afternoons back then. (Laundry, spying on cheating husband – all the exciting happenings in the life of a fly girl.)
After moving back home (sounds sad to move back in with my parents as a divorced adult, but it was great for me! More about all that in a later post) I was able to focus a little attention on professional football.
My dad was happy to have a football partner in the house with him again- My mother and sister made it clear that they would rather eat each others boogers than watch football. My dad and I spent many happy afternoons arguing (he inspired by Georgi Vodka – me with my sense of righteousness) the finer points of the game.
In the late 80’s early 90’s our Playoff/Superbowl Extravaganzas began. No catering was acceptable at any of our football fests. We would cook for days then solemnly gather at the church of the NFL for that particular game to give praise. We would dress up a little for these particular games – they were more important that even Monday Night Football – these were the playoffs.
Superbowl Sunday dawned bright and clear every year (regardless of the actual weather – happiness makes everything shiny). Some years I was Queen of the pick – others, for example the year I walked into the house singing, “Don’t Mess With The Bills” – was the year that Dallas stomped all over the Bills defensive line. Can’t pick ’em all.
I guess the point of all these words is that you have to take the time to learn to love the ballet of football. Every offensive movement is a well rehearsed step downfield. If some of you imagine beautiful choreography instead of game playing, you might be able to see a little more of the beauty.