Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Olfactory Hoppiness and Audible Obscenities

I suppose there are things more disconcerting than having a grown man wearing a giant block of synthetic cheese on his head pour beer on you.

(…being urinated on by a miniature Dachshund, for instance, or having your shirt collar straightened by a wino wearing splashes of decomposing haggis cologne…)

But, being a virgin to the arena of live American Football, I didn’t know such things were par for the athletic spectator course. I didn’t know that a culture existed within which it was acceptable to spew volcanic, garlic-cheese-fry tephra into the faces of those around you, and I’d never heard of any club that invited its members to scream obscenities into each other’s ears and shove stale, under-fermented malty-hoppy yeast aromas up each other’s nostrils.

This club, however, does in fact exist. They are most commonly known as “football fans”.

And, I was among them last night at the snowy Seahawks-Packers game in Seattle.

When my private student, Makoto, invited me to join him in his section 310, season pass seats, he probably thought I knew and cared more about football than I actually do. He probably thought, for example, that I knew what a “down” and a “red flag” were and that I understood why non-inebriated men would line up to wrestle with each other to the dissonant screams of shirtless, chest-painted cat-callers.

But, I disguised my ignorance well.

Having lived in quite a few different countries where strange happenings were the norm, I was able to adapt quickly to the new stadium environment. When others wearing my color (blue) jumped up to wave flags and holler enthusiastic obscenities, I did the same. When natives boo-ed baritone beer breath indecencies, so did I.

And, I think I did all right. (At least…, no members of the Club potato-sacked me or pulled me back into a dank locker room for questioning. And, the rumors of water board-supported quizzes on QB and runningback statistics… well…, nope- luckily never happened.)

And, actually…, I have to admit that the fans won me over. There’s something outstandingly special about the type of primal screaming, hysteria, emotional excitement and touchdown-determined disappointment that comes with watching a live football game;

something we don’t get to experience everyday in our humdrum lives.

Yeah, it’s something alright…

Something like competition-strummed cacophony and oral malodor.

*Edit/Update: Honestly, I had an awesome time at the game, and can’t wait to go to another one!! (I’ll just bring along my supplemental vocal chords and face mask next time!)


Nico said...

Which is very similiar to a hockey game... I miss hockey. And my primal self prefers the violence and grace of hockey to the thumping and throwing of football anytime. And amateur or semi-pro? Even better.

Frustrated Writer said...

I love a good football game and hockey too... anything where you can go and just go nuts over something as meaningless as who wins the game. It is a refreshing exorcism of societal stuffiness. Glad you enjoyed the game!

dingobear said...

Wow, -c, the Seahawks-Packers Snow Bowl on ESPN Monday Night Football ... Brett Favre! Shaun Alexander! Coach Mike "I Look Like An Angry Walrus" Holmgren! Pretty exciting stuff. I actually saw part of the game on TV, and it kinda looked cold in the stadium - I hope you managed to stay warm.

Next time I'm in Seattle (which, I suppose would be the first time), you're more than welcome to take me to a 'Hawks game. Though I can't promise you I won't wear a cheesehead. :)

-c said...

nico- "the grace of hockey"... man, I can't believe you haven't tattooed a huge maple leaf on your forehead yet:)

frustrated- yeah, I had a lot of fun! you won't find me crying into my whiskey over a Seahawks loss anytime soon, though.

dingobear- come on down and we'll hit a game! If you wear the cheesehead, though, I reserve the right to take numerous humiliating pictures, post them on this blog accompanied by sarcasm and ridicule:)

dingobear said...

-c, it's a deal! Actually, truth be told, I grew up a New Orleans Saints fan (how that happened with me living in Canada, I can't remember), not a Packers fan.

True NFL fact: although the Saints are good this year, they've traditionally been once of the worst teams in the league and, in the past, it was not uncommon to see Saints fans at the Superdome wear brown, paper grocery bags over their heads (with two cutouts for their eyes, so they could watch the game) to hide their shame. It was hilarious!

If you ever take me to a Seahawks-Saints game, and the Saints are losing, note you are allowed to take pictures of me only if I'm wearing my brown, paper grocery bag.

Nico said...

I have been considering getting the leaf tattoed somewhere, but my forehead seems a little obvious... And this from a woman who blasphemously signs Canadian flags during her various international misadentures...

-c said...

nico, ha ha. So you remember my story of posing as a Canadian in Katmandu, huh? It was quite warranted. I enter a plea of self-defense.

bigislandscottie said...

from my hero, george carlin:

I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!
Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?

In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!

PatL said...

Hey, just stumbled on your blog; how fun to see we both have an "Up [A/The] Creek Without A" blog. Enjoyed your writing, too!

Cap'n Rich said...

minus c, Ha, ha! Write a post about Santa Claus.