“There are really only two plays: Romeo and Juliet, and put the darn ball in the basket.”
Remember the tale my conversion to American football? Well, much to J.’s annoyance, this love never really spread to basketball – and while he likes football just fine, the boy loves basketball. It’s his mistress. This is an accepted facet of our relationship and we got on just fine, the three of us. But come March, good grief!
This year J. made me fill out a bracket, largely against my will, and was pretty amused by my picks. And granted, the science behind it wasn’t very sound. If I’d never heard of the school before, it lost. If I knew of both the schools, it came down to which mascot would win in a fight. A couple of times I closed my eyes and pointed.
No one s more surprised than me that every one of my picks hasn’t failed mightily. Want to share your wisdom or picks with the group?
“The oracle says Spain over Germany. Discuss.”
“I’m sorry but I have to say German over Spain. Spaniards eat a lot of octopus…the animal is afraid of saying they will lose, as it might end up on a barbecue.”
“True. I had not sufficiently taken into account culinary pressures.”
– C. and Francois, Facebook conversation
The Romans used to slash creatures open and observe their livers and kidneys to tell the future. By comparison, Paul the Oracle Octopus is less gruesome. I’m sort of hoping Spain trounces Germany just so his status as a prophetic cephalopod is confirmed.
Unfortunately for the tentacled sucker in question, I have an everlasting hatred of the name Paul. On a train ride from Holyhead, Wales to London, AbFab, Elizabeth, Kiri, Marie and I were seated with an odd couple. They smoked like chimneys, drank like fish, and swore like sailors. They both had saggy skin covered in tattoos while she had mad, frizzled hair and he was horrifically bald. Apparently she was married to another person but the man with her, named Paul, was her lover. There’s no accounting some people’s taste.
When we changed trains at Crewe the girls and I were happily esconced in our new car when Paul passed us coming down the corridor. Suddenly something landed in my lap. I looked down and saw a twisted up piece of paper and thought he’d dropped it, but he moved on before I could hand it back. Unfortunately when I unfurled it, it was his name and number.
Commenced five women gagging enthusiastically and shuddering all the way to London. They teased me to no end.
Paul the octopus looks cuddly by comparison.
“Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take off their shirts in Chicago in January, only more intelligent.”
Having grown up in places where “football” meant something very different from it does here, as well as having parents that never really followed sports, meant I was unprepared for American Football when I came to the western United States for university. Jane, my first roommate in the dorms, convinced me to by a student all season ticket so that I could go to the games with her, but I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect.
“It’s the stupidest concept,” I whined, “a bunch of guys get into lines and run into each other on purpose! What’s the point?”
Nevertheless Jane painted my face, made me buy the appropriately colored tee shirt, and on game day we hiked to the university stadium. Half an hour later I was screaming just as loudly as anyone else.
I’ll never be converted to the NFL (although I’ve developed a taste for Superbowl parties…or maybe just the snacks…) because I think that people who get paid obscene amounts of money to get a ball from Point A to Point B, the methods vary, have a severely warped sense of reality. But I have grown to love collegiate sports for the rivalries, the solidarity, and the love of the game.
The only problem I have with my university’s football games is that my favorite coat is the color of our fiercest rivals. So I do the logical thing. Freeze. I’m officially one of the faithful.