This past weekend, I watched a game of college football. I watched Notre Dame demolish the Oklahoma Sooners.
That was on Saturday night. Now, on Monday night, I’m contemplating the relevancy of what I did. If I was trying to describe it to someone (not from this planet), I would say something like this:
I was one of a couple million people sitting on a cushioned seat, in various remote locations, watching a box with flickering pixels. The pixels were an image or a representation of an event. This event was happening about a thousand miles away in a crowded stadium. The people in the stadium (and we the people at the various remote locations) were anxiously and attentively watching a contest—a contest between a bunch of burly, fast, tough men.
In this contest, the men wear tight pants and large helmets, socks up to their knees, and pieces of plastic upon their shoulders. The bottom of their shoes are covered with little tips that help them keep their traction as they run, plant, juke, and accelerate out of a squat position. Much of the game involves the men jostling each other as one of them runs around with an oval pigskin held near his chest. He tries to cross a white line and enter the space where a bunch of letters are painted on the grass. In this game, the largest guys usually play a rough and tumble version of patty-cake, while one of the smaller guys runs with the ball or catches it when it is thrown his way.
All of this sounds odd, I know, but you haven’t even heard about the quarterback. The guy called quarterback does this weird thing where he reaches up under a big squatted man and touches his genitalia with the back of his hand. While in this position, the quarterback usually yells out a series of loud chants. Then, at a certain point, the big squatted man “hikes” the ball to the quarterback.
While all this is happening, many more men are standing on the side of the field watching, yelling, cheering, etc. These men include substitute players who stand in full uniform waiting to be called upon to enter the game; older men who wear big ear-muff looking things and usually appear to be talking to themselves; and other older men holding large orange sticks with numbers or arrows on top. There’s also a handful of older men running around the field in zebra-colored t-shirts, blowing whistles, throwing yellow pieces of fabric, and making weird gestures.
Perhaps the weirdest part of all is that there are scantily clad women, dressed in wild costumes, standing on the side of the field yelling and dancing–and none of the men on the sidelines or in the game are watching the women.
This whole thing is a peculiar event really–wildly intriguing to millions of people, smart and stupid alike. In fact, this odd game draws in roughly 70,000 fans each week to it’s professional stadiums. This happens at 15 or 16 locations every week its in season. Annual profits ring in at approximately 2.2 billion dollars, just from television viewers.
Crazy isn’t it? This game we call football.