Saturday, June 12, 2010

The stages of an NFL Sunday

Normally, Sunday afternoons consist of me doing as close to nothing as possible. I probably get out of bed only once or twice during the day, with the rest of my time devoted to hours of Arrested Development on DVD. During the NFL season however, Sundays become vastly more important. My mind must be sharp, or at least coherent, so I can follow multiple games and fantasy teams. I have broken down this past NFL Sunday, which ended with the memorable Packers-Bears game, with the series of stages that I went through.

Stage 1: Wake Up.
This can be the hardest stage at times. I woke up about an hour before the noon games started, which is probably a little too early. The perfect time to wake up is about fifteen minutes before the noon games kick off, it gives me just enough time to shake the cobwebs out, without having to sit through hours of pregame shows that feature anywhere from six to 65 guys yelling at each other in ridiculous looking suits. For a Sunday morning, it was just too much Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter.

Stage 2: Food and Location.
One of the best parts about NFL Sundays is that it is a weekly event. It gives you the excuse to do things you wouldn’t normally do, like go to a bar at noon, or buy huge buckets of chicken or stacks of pizza. Would I order a large stuffed crust pizza just for me on any other day of the week? Probably not, but if the NFL is on, well, that’s all the logical reasoning I need. Because of the late Packer start time yesterday, my food choice was canned soup and the location was my bed. No need to get too excited for the thrilling Browns-Vikings game. A few hours later however, I made my way to Partner’s to watch the game with other Packer fans, and hey, there were free nachos!

Stage 3: Kickoff.
Finally, after what seemed like 45 minutes of pregame commercials, the game started. The few seconds before the opening kickoff will be the last time I act like a regular person for about three hours.

Stage 4: The Game.
Sometimes watching football is not fun. For the most part, this game was a great example of this. It was tense, sloppy, drawn-out (thanks to Lovie Smith challenging about every other play), and full of missed opportunities. In the end of course, after Aaron Rodgers threw that game-winning strike to Greg Jennings, it was rewarding. After all, it is my blood pressure that’s being victimized for these games, so I feel as though I’ve earned it. Now I can say things like “it was a great game,” but I can actually mean it.

Stage 5: Postgame.
After a game like that, it is hard to settle down. I went through about fifteen minutes of texting with my parents and friends, sharing in the excitement and breathing a collective sigh of relief and exhaustion. I stared at my planner for a few minutes, and decided that no homework could be accomplished. Instead I watched a few episodes of Arrested Development, stared at my ceiling because I could still not fall asleep, and eventually dozed off, a few hours short of the recommended eight. When I think about it, this first NFL Sunday of the season wasn’t really that different for me than any other Sunday. I did next to nothing, watched the same TV show over and over again, and had about twenty emotional swings from joy to misery and back. Oh yeah, I guess that last part separates the regular season from the offseason. Welcome back, NFL. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a nap.

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