Hail Marys and other prayers

When I first started experimenting with this whole blogging thing over on Facebook, a friend of mine who is not known for offering advice, gave me some. He said to write what I wanted and believed in but, no matter what, to never talk about politics nor religion. So I sit here thinking to myself,”Since when do I follow good advice?” Now, politics are something that I will continue to shy away from due to my medical condition. You see, I was born with a special genetic syndrome that makes me incapable of being a hypocrite. It has this strange side effect in that it makes me reason  out issues fairly and rationally instead of just going in lock step with whatever political ideology is most convenient for me to cling to.But don’t worry about me, cause I am seeking treatment and someday I will be like all the rest of the close minded neanderthals. So buckle up for a very spiritual “the things I have learned”:

I am a southerner as were my parents before me. If you are not from here you will have difficulty understanding the southern religious frame of mind because religion here is unlike what it is anywhere else. In reading the rest of this you must hear the voice of the classic southern preacher. It is full of accent and vernacular. A word of warning: I am referring to the classic southern preacher/warden voice that says things like ” What we have got here is a failure to communicate” not the southern voice that says,”Boy you sure do have a pretty mouth”. So please hear the voice that drops all the “n’s” and “s’s” at the ends of words and pronounced all the vowels like they have 18 syllables.

Some of us worship on Saturday nights and some of us do so on Sundays. The truly devout worship on both days but there will always be one day of service that they value more. We build vast gleaming shrines made of concrete and steel so that we may all worship with our like minded brothers and sisters in unity.We even welcome those of opposing faiths to join us but we make sure they sit on the pews opposite from ours. We even welcome those of other faiths to convert to our way of worshiping but that rarely happens. For the faith that you were born into will likely stay with you for all of your life.

Our religion draws vast pilgrims to our holy sites from areas both far and wide. These pilgrims will sometimes be forced to camp in cities of tents and r.v.’s due to their numbers swelling beyond what the local hotels can accommodate. Our religious leaders dress in distinguished fashion in a manner that suits their lofty position not like some of the “newer” faiths whose leaders where polos and hoodies to tend to their flock. We gather in small prayer groups before the services begin and start to motivate the faiths  of ourselves and others. After a particularly moving service, we will take  to the streets to proselytize any non believer that we meet and point out to them the error of their ways. This sometimes leads to vast physical conflicts for we will not tolerate disrespect to our faith.

We have great hymns that we sing throughout the service and sometimes long after the service has ended. These hymns are played by grand orchestras and accompanied by the choirs of those with the voices of angels. These holy songs bind us to our brethren and reinforce our faith. We even mark our vehicles with special insignias so that our fellow believers can recognize us wherever we go. Unlike some lesser faiths, we don’t have to pass the plate for collections. Our fellow church goers gladly give till it hurts before they have even entered into the main body of the church. We tithe to the fullest extent but never complain for we know that the funds are needed to keep the church growing.

We are holy warriors. We are the holy. We are the devout. We are southerners and our religion is football. For those of us who worship at the altar of Saturday afternoons and the College game we will go to towns with names like Tuscaloosa and Chapel Hill .  We will go to many of these similar places, towns with one stoplight and two Whataburgers. The school you root for is a serous matter and there is more animosity between fans of rival schools than has ever existed between Jew and Muslim. Think that is an exaggeration? In the south true “hate ” is reserved for perverts, wife beaters, and the criminally insane. If you are a college football fan, you read that last sentence and immediately added the name of the fans from your rival school. Need more proof? Only in college football is there an entire industry of people writing books just to denigrate their opponent and its fans. A disclaimer: I am a dyed in the wool, bleeds garnet and gold, Bobby Bowden loving, calling Doak Campbell Stadium “God’s County”, Charlie Ward cheering, Tallahassee missing,Steve Spurrier hating, Burt Reynolds mustachioed  SEMINOLE.Hell, I even plant a burning spear in my front yard before I write my blog every morning just to psyche myself up. However, you can just insert the name of your rival school and these little nuggets of joy will work just as well:

  • How do you get to Gainesville? You go south until you smell it and then west until you step in it.
  • Why did Florida pick orange as its color? So its fans could go hunting on Saturday morning, go to the game on Saturday afternoon, get arrested and go to jail on Sunday, and go straight to their job on the back of the garbage truck on Monday and never have to change their shirt.
  • What do you get when you cross a pig and a Gator cheerleader? Nobody knows because there are somethings even a pig won’t do.

Just to be charitable, I will give the Florida fans a peace offering:

  • What do you call a F.S.U. grad in a suit? The defendant
  • What do you call four F.S.U. grads in a Cadillac? Grand Theft Auto

As you can see, we treat this whole college football thing with a level of seriousness that most people reserve for family relationships and religions. If football is our religion then Fall is our high holidays. It starts as the players report to school and two a days begin. The information slowly leaks out of campus and to the fans as to what the season will bring. We can’t wait to get to the season opener. Until kickoff, everything is possible. Every team is a contender for the national championship. Then, the first game is played and you lose your star running back to injury and you find out that the q.b. can’t read a blitz and your defense has one flaw in that they don’t know how to tackle. Do you lose hope? Hell No. You just start talking about quality losses and next spring’s recruiting class. Then you state the mantra that has been keeping the hopes of mediocre programs alive for decades,”Wait ’til next year.”

Some people cite the pomp and tradition of the college game for the reason that they love it so. They call it more family friendly than the pro game and talk about the purity of the “amateurs” who play it. Sure they are amateurs just like the Olympians except I don’t see the 18 year old hopeful on the luge team driving around in an Escalade that his single parent family living in the projects just magically figured out they could afford. Others talk about how they love that there is no alcohol allowed at the games.NO ALCOHOL?  College football is single handedly responsible for keeping the flask and plastic baggy industry solvent. If you see the t.v. shot of the student section at any college game, and you don’t see any drunks then you have accidentally turned on the B.Y.U game. If you see a group of college students and half are dressed like cowboy/prostitutes and the other half have painted their body in glitter while wearing a cape and a Centurion helmet, they are not drinking applejuice.

Speaking of out of control drunks, there is no better way for a former alcoholic to see the folly of this addictive ways than to take him to an N.F.L. game. This is an event where they have cordoned off entire decks at the stadium just to give people special places to get plastered. God bless ’em. The pro games are more than about drinking, they are about Fantasy Football and drinking. I love Fantasy Football because nothing makes me happier than having to cheer for the opposing teams’ q.b. because I started him this week and if I drop down another place in the standings the other guys in accounting will be riding my ass about it for the rest of the winter. And don’t even mention the office pool, that I didn’t have enough money to enter so I took Junior’s lunch money and dammit if Dallas isn’t covering the spread and I should have taken the over on the Tampa Bay game and WTF are the Browns doing scoring this late in the game just to kill the 3 and a half I laid on them..AAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG!

They should change the slogan to,” The N.F.L., cause you ain’t got enough emotional conflict in your life.” But I do love the N.F.L. game because of the family aspect of it. Coming out and enjoying the game as family really seems to bridge the generation gap. It is a proven fact that nothing brings people closer together than all three generations of a family dropping “f-bombs” on a referee because he missed a holding call.

Some people claim that the N.F.L. game is in decline. They say that the outrageous ticket prices and concession prices that make the movie theaters blush with embarrassment have finally caught up with and are destroying the fans’ ability to attend the games. I don’t think that’s the problem. I just think they need to come up with more exciting ways to engage the fans at the stadium. I have a few ideas. Get your pen and paper ready Mr. Roger  Goodell:

  • Quit moving the kick off line. Make the kickoff more exciting by combining it with the flyover. Imagine the excitement as the F-16 hurls the football out the bomb bay doors while doing mach 3. The good news is that even if the return man makes contact with the football at the twenty yard line, the force of impact will result in a touch back every single time.
  • Old timers always lament about the rules to protect the quarter back.” Just put them in a dress”, they will moan. Exactly. Imagine how Payton Manning would look in a flowing little Dolce and Gabanna number or think how great Aaron Rodgers would look wearing a lacy piece from Christian Lacroix. Not only would this give the game another marketing opportunity it would open the game up to an entire segment of the population that aren’t currently known for their love of sports.
  • During a replay challenge, don’t have the referee go look at the video under the hood. I propose that we have the previous play acted out on the field by the local improv troupe. “OK, it is a running play performed in the style of…..anyone?….ok  kabuki theatre!”
  • Eliminate the Pro Bowl game and replace it with a  skills competition.  Not skills like running and catching but the true skills that N.F.L. players possess. There could be a wife/girlfriend beating contest. We could play a rousing game of “Are you my daddy?” We could gather all of the DUI offenders in the league and have the most kick ass demolition derby ever. We could have the running from the police 40 yard dash , and my personal favorite  we could have a quarterback impersonation contest. Apparently Tim Tebow has been practicing for that for years.

Oops, I forgot! I wasn’t supposed to talk about religion.

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