Family bonding memories emerge with football season

Ryn Gargulinski: Local Columnist

My first encounter with football was getting hit in the head with one. No, it really wasn’t but it sounds funny. And it brings back fond memories of that Brady Bunch episode in which a football smashes into and breaks Marsha’s nose.
Ah, the joy of the game.

Actually, fond memories of the sport actually do come about — and this was even before I got caught up in the Rattler fever of last week’s match against Santa Rosa. Sure, Tucumcari was defeated, but not without a good fight. A fight so wonderful, in fact, that I was actually annoyed duty made me leave the game early and listen to the remainder on the radio.

My dad was a football great in his college days at Detroit’s Wayne State University, so some kind of game would be on our TV every weekend. When we’d do that father/daughter bonding thing I’d sit down and root for the Vikings.

Minnesota became my favorite team not because of its exceptional anything, but because I liked the helmets. Besides, no one can go wrong with a cool sounding player named Ahmad Rashad.

I kept on rooting for the Vikings while my younger brother decided on the Chargers. Thus we would spend long hours in brother/sister bonding arguing which team had the cooler helmets.

My brother, too, had his own football fame. He played for the Harvard Crimson and scored one of his touchdowns in the one game I actually got to go see when they played New York’s Columbia University.

All this football exposure, of course, does not mean I actually know all the rules of the game — although I did recently learn what a blitz is just because I like the word. And although I’ve dead-aimed with crabapples, softballs and rocks, I’ve never been able to throw a football. It always ends up all wobbly like a drunken turkey attempting to fly.

Speaking of turkeys, I must admit there is nothing better than football on Thanksgiving. It’s tradition to watch the Detroit Lions lose and use the game on TV in the background to avoid talking to any annoying folks that may show up at family gatherings.

Football, too, can be fun for the whole family. I’m not sure we attended any professional games while we were growing up, but if we did I’m sure it was premium quality time, just like we bonded at Detroit Tigers baseball games (where tickets are cheaper). Dad and brother would be immersed in the game, I would spend long innings trying to walk in front of the TV camera when they scanned the crowd and mom would bring a book.

Of course, this is not meant to put down sports in any way. In fact, I was an avid soccer player, taught and coached by Dad, and I can blast a mean dropkick. I’ll also still put soccer on the tube when I’m trying to annoy my boyfriend (it works especially well when it’s in Spanish).

Hockey is another sport I can get into — mainly because the players bleed. That and, like blitz in football, hockey comes with a neat-sounding word — zamboni.

But based on the hundreds of Rattlers — and Lions — fans packing last week’s stadium, nothing can beat a good ol’ game of football. Provided one can throw the ball, of course. And better still if the helmets are as cool as the Vikings’.