by David G. Woolley
Some time after Mom married Dad she figured out that quality time together included a six letter word. Sports. The humble beginnings of her indoctrination were polite.
"Why do they allow the batter three misses?"
"They're called strikes, honey."
"Do they always spit like that?"
"Its not spit."
"I really like the color of their blouses."
Baseball was king for dad and Mom made sure the pantry was stocked with plenty of peanuts from May until October. During football season it was chips and salsa. During Wimbledon it was strawberries. When they moved to the Windy City to serve in the Chicago Temple for six years Mom decided that placing Micheal Jordan's name on the prayer roll might be a good game day tradition. Dad told her that wasn't necessary in order for him to consider her a fully fledged fan, but he sure was proud. Mom had finally caught the subtler nuances of the bug.
Its been two years since Dad died. In his memory Mom continues the quality time sports watching tradition. She never misses a game. Cougars. Jazz. Cubs. She's their number one fan. The stats flow from her mind like streaming video. Arm chair quarterbacking takes on a whole new feminine vocality. She talks to the TV, telling the coaching staff exactly what they're doing wrong. She also tells them if the color selection on team blouses needs some half time adjustments.
This weekend it was BYU football at Washington. Gotta love and support those spiritually minded Cougars. Mom's post game commentary is enthusiastic. Its emotionally charged. Its also not Sports-Center-Speak. She's never shed her penchant for polite talk---that endearing non-technical verbiage that personifies her fanaticism. Last night it went something like this:
"Did you see the game, son?"
"I was working. Did the Cougars win?"
"They were ahead 28-21 with a minute to go. Then that fast young man from Washington with the terrible color coordinated navy blue and gold blouse ran right into our end zone. Those Washington boys were jumping up and down and slapping each other on the back and then they threw the ball."
"So Washington went for the win on a two point converstion? Did they score off the pass?"
"No, no, no. They were rejoicing. Its against the rules, you know."
"The two point conversion?"
"When they're happy and they get excited, and they jump up and down and slap each other on the back and throw the ball. It happens all the time. You know, too much rejoicing."
It wasn't until the local news broadcast I found out the Cougars were ahead by a touchdown before Washington ran the ball into the end zone with two seconds remaining. Lucky for BYU the referee awarded a penalty when the quarterback threw the ball in celebration. The call pushed the point after kick back to the 35 yard line where the Cougars managed to block the Huskie's P.A.T. attempt and preserve a 28-27 win.
The nightly news had all the facts straight, but I prefer Mom's post game. It adds a softer touch to a sport that has little. If you hear any Huskie fans complaining about the Cougar's lucky win, tell 'em their blouses stink. You can also tell 'em sour grapes. Its on the books. Just ask my mom. NCAA rule 9, section 2, article 1:
Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website.