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Football and the Family Dynamic

Watching football with lots of small children can present problems.

Next weekend is the official beginning of college football, and I don’t mind telling you that I’m a bit concerned that my entire season (both college and pro) could be in danger. So this past weekend, I decided to take matters into my own hands which struck my wife as curious, indeed.

“What are you doing?”

“Watching an NFL pre-season football game, honey.”

“Why? You never watch pre-season football.”

“I’m practicing.”

“Practicing?”

“Yes. Practicing. Last year it was hard to watch football, what with the triplets constantly creating such mayhem. Now that we’ve added Grand Finale to the roster, I figure it’ll be even harder. And since the college season kicks off next weekend, I figured I’d better practice.”

“You think watching football will be more difficult for you because we just had another child?”

“Yes, that’s right,” I said.

“It’s your fault, you know.”

Ah. One of our playful banter topics. We both know that it’s no one’s “fault,” Grand Finale’s surprising and wonderful arrival, that is. Yet whenever our situation calls for sacrifice, Caroline and I do, indeed, play the “blame” game, tongues firmly planted in cheeks, mind you.

Usually I would have contested her assertion that I was the one at fault for endangering the football season, if for no other reason than I somewhat enjoy arguing with my wife. Yet, as you already know, I was practicing watching football, and football is a matter I take very seriously. So I didn’t really have the time to put up a fight.

“I know, honey. You’re right. I think I, um, sacked you one too many times. But don’t be ashamed. You thought it was okay, then, BOOM. The protection broke down in the pocket. And with a guy who can get around the end as quick as I can? There were bound to be times when you found yourself lying flat on your back. Or on your…”

“Okay, honey, that’s enough. I’m leaving the room now,” she said indifferently before finally noticing that something was awry. “Hey, wait a minute. Where are the kids?”

“Well, Pookie’s at her dad’s.”

“I know that. I’m talking about the other four. The ones who you predicted would make watching football so hard.”

“Oh. Them. They’ve all committed various infractions which forced me to send each to his or her room.”

Infractions? What did they do?”

“Well, about 15 minutes ago, Monster called me into the bathroom because he needed me to wipe him.”

“And that’s a punishable offense?”

“Honey, he interrupted a football game with a bathroom issue. That’s gas interference.”

“Oh my,” she said with a sigh. “What about Biggs? What did he do?”

“Midway through the first quarter he ran through here naked.”

“So?”

“He was manhandling his, um, junior lineman again.” (Both our toddler boys are currently smitten with their penises.)

“And he’s in trouble because?”

“Illegal use of the hands.”

“He’s three,” my wife groaned. “It’s perfectly natural.”

“Natural? Only if his name were Stretch Armstrong, honey. Look, I stand by the call. Illegal use of the hands. Excessive yanking.”

“What about Peanut? What did she do?”

“She and Monster were playing with the blocks, well, before Monster committed the whole gas interference deal, that is. Anyway, right as he got up to go to the bathroom, she tried to give him a block, but his back was turned toward her.”

“And that’s some awful offense?”

“Well, it’s not awful, but I had to call it. A block to the back, honey? You can’t do that.”

“This is incredible. Even for you.”

“I thought you might like this,” I said as I turned my attention back to the game.

“So, I’m dying to know… what did our five-week-old infant do to get into trouble?”

“Grand Finale? He was piping up right after kickoff, so I gave him a Nuk-Nuk. Which he spit it out, then threw to the ground.”

“And what in the world is wrong with that?”

“Are you gonna sit here and tell me you’ve never heard of roughing the pacifier? He’s in the pack in play in our room.”

Caroline shot me a look of disgust.

“What?” I asked defensively. “It’s not like I don’t have the monitor on.”

“So, lemme get this straight,” Caroline finally said. “You basically punished each and every single one of our children so that you could practice watching football uninterrupted?”

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

“Oooh. Sorry, honey, that’s gonna cost you,” Caroline said as she clicked off the TV.

“What? What’d I do?”

“Intentional grounding. Which, as you probably know, honey, is enforced at the spot of the foul and carries with it a loss of down(stairs TV privileges).”

I have a feeling this is gonna be a long, long season, folks.

Image: Augie Schwer‘s photostream via Creative Commons

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