I’m not really that into pro football this year. The concussions bother me some, but that’s not really it. Football isn’t the only big time sport that is problematic, if you really sit down and think about it, but I still follow them. Part of it may be the New York Giants coming back to earth after a hot start (but they’re probably better than a .500 team), but a lot of it is likely because I didn’t play fantasy football this year. I was occupied doing other stuff and the league I was in for years was starting to go the way of the Negro Leagues after Jackie Robinson. I think the last guy finally wrote a check for his 2008 dues last month. Plus, there used to be a lot of camaraderie in our league when we were in our 20s. We’d stumble out of bed, heads pounding, and make our way to the local bar and watch the games. I remember that one guy had a routine. Black coffee, followed by a Bloody Mary, then a Bud and some buffalo wings.
But then some guys got married, others moved away, and this Sunday tradition stopped. Too, more and more folks got dishes and didn’t have to go to some gin mill to get their football jones. But I have fond memories of those days. As I once wrote elsewhere, “(F)ootball should be watched in bars; bars where there are bunch of instant refs (just add alcohol.) You know, the guys who think that they can interpret the rulebook better than the officials even though they are viewing the game through a haze of Marlboro Light smoke and light beer vapor. Also some folks who nervously step outside to get reception for their cellphones so they can communicate with their bookies add to the ambiance. I used to hang out at a place called Elmo’s before mobile communications became ubiquitous. There’d be a line at the payphone full of decrepit types waiting to call their guy looking to parlay their winnings of go double or nothing on the late game. They didn’t know Joey behind the bar. He’d book action on the frickin’ Hula Bowl.”