The year I was ten, during an Alabama football game, my uncle shot his television with a double barrel shotgun. I wasn't present for this but I did see the aftermath and hear the story firsthand. It wasn't that his team was losing. In fact, Alabama didn't lose any games that year. It was the TV that made him mad. Back then, televisions weren't all they could be or would be. Do you remember how the picture would sometimes roll and someone had to get up and turn a knob to stop it? This was what my uncle's TV was doing, except every time he got within two steps of it, the rolling stopped. Then, as soon as he settled into to his football watching chair again, it started up again. Now, he'd been hunting that morning and planned on cleaning his gun while he watched the game. That television misbehaved one too many times and, well, the rest is history. Good thing he lived out in the country and was home alone. But even if it had been his weekend to have my cousins, they wouldn't have touched the gun. They understood the rules of gun safety.
Clearly my uncle could have used some Rules for Football Watching.General Rules
- Do not be a bandwagon fan. The state of Alabama has produced two national championship teams in the last two years and I've seen people on both sides, who I didn't know knew what a football was, jump on the goodtime bandwagon. If you can't be a fan in the bad times, don't tell me about it in the good. It's not attractive.
- Do not badmouth somebody else's team in front of them unless they start it.
- If you know just enough about the rules of the game to make you dangerous, keep you mouth shut.
- Don't whine or make excuses when your team loses. Most of the time, a team loses because they get outplayed. Accept it and love them anyway.
- Don't assume that because I am female, you need to explain to me what just happened or is about to happen. Trust me, you do not.
When At a Game
- Don't stand up in front of me to take pictures or film when no one else is standing up. Go to the sideline.
- On the other hand, don't expect me to keep my seat when the wideout is about to take to the house and 99.9 per cent of the crowd is on their feet. At the high school stadium in my town, there's a place down front for wheelchairs. If you can't stand up, go down there.
- Don't yell at the officials. Sure there's some homecooking from time to time, but keep you mouth shut. It won't help and you might get thrown out of the stadium.
- Don't expound on how your kid should be in. It just might be barely possible that the coach knows a little more than you do. And I promise you he wants to win. His job depends on it. This is big boy territory and not a pony ride at a birthday party. Not everyone gets a turn. After a certain age, if you think letting every kid play is more important than winning, you are hooked up with the wrong sport. It isn't going to happen.
- Don't leave until the game is over, regardless of the score. It's disrespectful to the team.
- Don't insult the band or the cheerleaders in front of their parents. Wait until you get home.
When Watching on Television With Other People
- It's best not to mix fans. It just is. But if you find yourself in the minority, you need to be quiet about it. If it's my television and my house I am simply not going to listen to anyone cheer against my team. You can have a plate to go, but you can't stay.
- If you are not a football fan at all but go to a watching party for the fun of it, don't assume you can sit by me and tell me about the shoes you brought that morning. I don't care.
- By all that is or every will be Holy, do not call a fan of the team your team is beating to gloat until the game is over. Trust me. No matter how snide, arrogant, and rude they have been. Wait. It could still go bad. I've never done this myself, but I stopped Oldest Friend from doing it. In the end, she was grateful. My daddy used to always say, "Two minutes is a long time to play ball." Boy, is it.
- Yell at the officials all you want.
- Yell at the coach all you want.
- Yell at the ESPN guys all you want.
I am sure some of you have something to add. Let's hear it!