Monday, September 24, 2012

Everything I need to know I learned from Sunday football.

Dear Santa, Please let the Lions win.
Just one game. Please. I hate to see
my dad cry every weekend.
Love, Becky

For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Michigan.  Home of the auto industry, the Great Lakes, and the familiar sound of my dad’s voice every fall saying “You know, this year could definitely be their year.” And of course he was talking about the Lions. And of course he was never, ever, ever correct. (regardless, though….Go Lions!)

So instead I learned to love all things Spartans. But really more for the tailgating and trash-talking than anything else. And because I love cozy sweatshirts with Sparty’s face on them. Obviously.

Basically what I’m trying to say is this: until I entered the world of CB and his family’s Sunday Funday Jets-Watching Extravaganza, I didn’t know what being a true NFL fan was like. Also, while they don’t officially have their Sunday’s named this, I think we should rally to make it so – and have t-shirts made immediately.

Anyway, here are a few of the life lessons I picked up during my first Sunday Funday experience:

1. Being popular might help you a little, but it won’t get you in the door every time.  

Let me preface this by saying that CB – as well as the rest of his family – warned me for a few months now that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into regarding dating any member of this family during Jets season. But I just thought that they were using hyperbole for comedic effect. Turns out, though, that they were underplaying so as not to scare me.

You see, while they might really like you, that has nothing to do with the serious business of football watching. Why? Because your presence in the room could very well affect whether Sanchez has a good or bad game. Obviously.

So if I’m in the room and we win, guess what? I’m in that room every Sunday for the rest of the season. And if I have plans or a work trip, I better just go right ahead and cancel that now because I need to get my priorities in order already! However, if I’m in the room and we lose? It’s possible that I’ll not only not be invited back, but I can envision an intervention-type sit-down with CB where they start to question why he’s dating someone like me in the first place, and does he really want to see the Jets lose all season because of that girl?

It could happen.

2. You must look the part. Period.

Like I said, I didn’t grow up a Jets fan so I don’t have any Jets gear. I figured this wouldn’t be a problem since I could just pop on an MSU green and white t-shirt and call it a day. Same colors, the thought is there, I’ll be good, right?


Me: I don’t have any Jets gear for the game. That’s ok, right?
CB: Uh, no. My family won’t let you in the house.
Me, laughing: Yeah, that’d be funny.
CB, not laughing: No, I’m serious.
Me: For real? I have to go out and buy Jets gear?
CB: Do you wanna come on Sunday?
Me: Yes!
CB: Then we better go shopping.

3. Nobody is nice all the time. 

Yesterday’s game was rough. There were times I honestly thought most everyone in the room might be on suicide watch. There were also times where I honestly thought that most everyone in the room was having the best moment of their lives. It’s very up and down and I was told that the feeling of nausea and excitement wouldn’t really go away all season.

Also, something to keep in mind here is that this group of people are some of the kindest, most generous, most considerate people I’ve ever met. They’re also ruthless and will lock you outside if necessary in order to get a win.

Case in point:
During one of the quarters of the game yesterday, CB’s mom and aunt stepped out onto the deck to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Soon after, the Jets scored a touchdown or something and I believe the screen door was locked and they were promptly told to stay out there for the rest of the game. At one point a few people even mentioned how it was lucky that there was a fire pit on the deck to keep them warm during the colder months of the season if the Jets continued to win.

So basically, family schmamily, we have a game to win, people!

Also, it’s important to note here that his mom and aunt were totally down with this plan and simply asked that we keep them stocked with wine and blankets! Now those are hardcore fans.

4. Delivery is key. 
There was a point during the game that I noticed a direct correlation between the change in volume and language and how good or bad the team was doing. I also realized the power of the f word.

It seems to help if you yell really loudly and passionately whether your team is winning or losing. I think they may have actually been able to hear us. And they were playing in Florida.

Oh, and it is very important to get up from your chair if they score so you can high five everyone with enthusiasm and a bit of aggression. These fans don’t f around. Also, I may have fractured my wrist.

5. Listen to and learn from those with more experience than you. 

It’s important to note two things here: (a) CB and I had attended a wedding the night before and may have, inexplicably, been over-served at some point and (b) I’m not that quick so I might never learn that vodka and I don’t mix.

So when we got to his parent’s house at noon on Sunday, wine and beer and delicious food was abundant. But after one too many spicy meatballs, I decided that crackers were my friend. And water. And soda. And while I felt ok, I wasn’t quite right and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, almost in unison, CB, his cousin, and his sister said “Seriously. Drink a glass of wine. We promise you’ll feel better.”

However, this logic seemed counterintuitive to me. I mean, why on earth would I want to put the exact thing into my body that it was difficult for me to even think about? It made no sense. But after several “hair of the dog” references and his sister literally pouring a glass and putting it in my hand, I decided it couldn’t hurt.

And you know what? They are all geniuses. Also, perhaps they’ve done this before.


All in all it was an experience I’ll never forget and hope to re-live again soon. I mean, we did win, so I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that my presence was obviously key. I mean, the team can’t just win on skill, talent, and a little bit of luck alone, that’s ridiculous. They need their fans to have their back! And that may be the biggest lesson of them all. Well that, and making sure you have the right t-shirt on. And really, if those aren’t two key life lessons, I don’t know what are.

Happy Monday, everyone!

I'm totally going to wear this next weekend. I'll just have to convince three others
to be the E, T, and S. CB will be endlessly pleased with this idea, I can feel it.


  1. Well, if you're good luck for the Jets, I might need you for the rest of the Dallas Cowboys season. Are you busy? :-) Of course, admitting I'm a Cowboy fan might not be beneficial to me.

    1. Haha I would if I could but then I think I might get banished for life! I can only be a Lions and a Jets fan at the talents are in high demand, apparently! :-)

  2. My husband is a Giants fan and I am a Cowboys fan. He told me before I met his family that if I mentioned this, they would hate me, throw things at me and possibly kick me out of the house. It was funny for the first few months before our trip to NY, but then I just got scared that he was serious. I was pretty nervous. As a true Cowboys fan, I could not not mention the cowboys and my love of them. It was a risk I had to take. We're married, so it worked out- just saying I understand.