Teach Me Football

Teach me football
so I can understand why
enormous men put on shoulder pads
wear tight pants
and knee guards and helmets
and black smudges underneath their eyes
before they run around a lovely green patch of grass
that often isn't real.


Teach me football
so I can understand why
teamwork includes kicking
a ball with funny pointy ends
that sometimes wobbles sometimes flies true
when thrown across the field to a running target
and all the players jump on the ball as if to smother
the unfortunate receiver.


Teach me football
so I can understand why
I should urge my impressionable sons
to learn the teamwork
that injures spines and knees
in harmful ways that only become apparent
when young men are in their prime and laid low with
inflictions impossible to repair.


Teach me football
so I can understand why
people pay a ridiculous weekly fee
to special tv channels
so as not to miss a single game
blocked out at home but covered by satellite
and glue their eyes to television and butts to chairs
sticky with popcorn and pretzels.


Teach me football
so I can understand why
the acceptance of violence is so critical
in my living room
taking precedence over conversation
dominating quiet routine patterns we have on other days
yelling for vicious action
better than the quarterback.


Teach me football
so I can understand why
games are played and replayed and replayed
for days following
to agree on the most magnificent point
or do the whole game over from first kick to down
to relive the thrill and excitement of each play
until the next game comes on.


Teach me football
so I can understand why
my man beats the shit out me
for not buying beer
by the gross instead of treats
and toys or clothes for our babies crawling underfoot
or for not keeping the second case chilled and ready
when the stud's beer ad comes on.


Teach me football
so I can understand why.

 

 
Note: More domestic violence occurs during the bowl football season than at any other time of the year.

Naomi Sherer