We moved to the U.S. from a land where football was the game. My memory of football included watching the cute neighborhood boys play and occasionally playing as goalie when my cousins and brothers had a game. That was the only position they’d allow if they were going to have a girl in their match, no matter how non-girlish I tried to act. And I did pretty well, enduring all sorts of bruises to deflect the ball, and wearing those marks with pride.
Then we moved to the U.S. where “football” was called soccer and rarely talked about. Instead, this other crazy game, where people carry the ball in their hands (unheard of in soccer), was called football.
But hey, when in Rome do as the Romans do. So, once I got over my initial shock and condescending attitude, I decided to give football a try one day. My brothers painstakingly explained the rules of the game to me and I nodded pretending to understand. The game began. Everything was going ok until I got the ball and started running. I kept hearing my teammates scream and thought here’s my moment to shine in the new game. And then: TOUCH DOWN!!!! (without any bruises). Now, this game was not as bad as they show on T.V. As I was doing the dance of joy, I noticed so did the opposite team because apparently I had just scored for them.
I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
My second chance in the world of football came recently. My brother decided to take me to a sports bar: Jakes Philly Steak. Having moved the whole day (well overseeing the movers really), all sweaty, I could totally fit in. Oh yeah. Let’s do this.
So, when it came time to order food, I ordered my salad (dressing on the side please), sat down with my back to the TV and draped a napkin on my lap. By now I had a faint idea about the two out of the four games being shown on the screens and getting a kick out of people, single or in groups, having conversations or brawls with the TV.
Suddenly someone yelled at one of the players: “Oh get up! What, you’re just gonna lay there like a pu…(little cat)!”
Another man replied: “Hey, you are what you eat.”
My brother smiled at this classical-music-listening, poetry-reading, non-Philly-steak-eating-book-worm with her mouth agape and said:
“Well, sis. When in Rome…”