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Play To The Whistle.



Everyone who’s played football at any level knows the first rule.

Keep in mind this is organized football with coaches and referees, not a side yard game of wipeout. Or a beach game of pound the sand.

If you’ve worn a mouthguard and a helmet with a face mask, then you’ve played the game.

Whether you liked it, or had a star player for a big brother who left footprints for you to follow, you know the game well enough after your first hit.

Either you pop up to go again, looking for the player who smacked you, or take a knee thinking, “When does this end?”

Don’t kid yourself while you watch grown men play the last Pop Warner game of the year, some of them feel the same way.

How can you tell? Try the Boomerpdx method:

The “I know, right” sports fan focuses on numbers, beginning with players’ game checks. Somehow they can break down the dollars per minute played the way they balance their checkbook.

These fans come up with, “If I got paid that kind of money I’d buckle my chin strap again.”

When it comes from a baby boomer couch potato with a smart phone in one hand monitoring their fantasy team, and rolling chicken wings across the knuckles of their other hand like a magician’s quarter, you wonder which chin they’ll strap.

If you have one of these in your house, stay calm and ask them to do one thing before they smear the eye black on and run through a wall like they did in high school. Ask them to sit down, lean over, and tie their shoes.

Be a good coach and watch their technique. Do they tie their shoe laces with their knee inside their reached out arms? Or do they push their knee outside their arms to make room for their belly?

You’ll notice the difference when you see knots tied on the inside of their shoes instead of right on top. From now on you’ll notice those knots on strangers.

While the resident superstar ties their shoes, take note of their breathing. Do they hold their breath during the tie? Do they give a mighty exhale before the lean in?

After they finish check their color. Is their face purple? Do they sport a throbbing vein pulsing on their forehead? Are they sweating?

Don’t be cruel with your comments, just note that there’s no amount of money, treasure, or performance enhancing drugs known to mankind that would allow this man or woman anywhere near a chance to step on a field in uniform. They know this truth too, but it’s an inconvenient truth. No need to drag Al Gore into this. Don’t remind them and ruin the moment for both of you.

Once you settle the ‘I played the game, I know more than you’ debate, gently remind your baby boomer sports fan that winning four games out of twenty seven during their high school varsity career hardly makes them an expert. When they counter with, “At least I wasn’t a mascot,” you win.

Now the fun starts. Find a whistle and hook it to a lanyard. Slip it over your head and pull on your favorite NFL jersey and hat. Wear your ball cap low enough that your eyes are in shadows. You don’t want the opposition reading your eyes like Richard Sherman reads quarterbacks.

Tell your serious sports fan you’ll be calling the game on Sunday and blow your whistle for emphasis.

Explain it like this: “I want a fair game. Enough of the cheap shot out of bounds, the head shots, and the extra bounce on the guys after they’re down. Enough of the painkillers before the game, needles in knee and IVs in the arm at halftime. Enough of the star making machinery in the post game. Just play the game like it means something, like it means everything.

“Done the right way, the Super Bowl drags us along in it’s wake. It’s a Super Sunday for everyone. If perfect is the enemy of good, just give us a good game instead of perfect. If Peyton Manning comes up short on a goal line sneak, don’t call it a touchdown. The Steelers got that call the last time Seattle made it this far.

“Fans want a chance to celebrate, not walk away wondering how they saw things the refs didn’t see. Show us how a kid’s game works between the best teams and we all get a chance to be kids again. That’s not asking too much. Now where’s my eye black. I feel a case of Beast Mode coming on.”







About David Gillaspie
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