"Houston, we have no problem."

1)I know so much about football now, it just blows my mind.
2)I remember when all I cared about was the clock, counting down to when my favorite show would be "already in progress."
3)I wonder now whether I missed any Pats games waiting for "Babylon 5" to come on.
4)Not like I watch all the games now, right?
5)It's sort of like "Power Rangers," bacon, and ice-skating. I can like things without experiencing them regularly.
6)I used to like "Nowhere Man," when it was on for half a season or whatever.
7)Never saw the show. To this day, I have no idea what it was about.
8)But it seemed like a cool thing, and the previews were always on during "Voyager."
9)I've never played football. I've played flag football, and rugby of course, but not actual American football.
10)So my perception of the game is more from the birds' eye view of the cameras than anything else.
11)I like it when they use the cameras down on the field, because it feels more in the moment.
12)I also like listening to football on the radio, as I just discovered last night.
13)As last fall, when I listened to the Sox play on my way home from class, sports on the radio are very different.
14)I think you learn the players' names a lot faster that way, not to mention the plays themselves.
15)I gathered with the rest of my family to watch the pre-game and the kickoff and even the first three quarters.
16)I saw "Aerosmith" sing, and my sister told me she scored major points at the dojo for saying that I knew the lead singer.
17)My mom put in, "Not just knows him, but lived with him for a week!"
18)My sister gave her this amused look and was like, "Yeah... I didn't really mention that part."
19)I saw the Columbia tribute, which inexplicably seemed to revolve around the moon.
20)We all just looked at each other. "But they weren't going to the moon!"
21)It was cool to see STS-114 out on the field, and "You Lift Me Up" as a NASA tribute was fantastic.
22)But I couldn't help feeling that the whole moon thing was very political, and as such kind of cheapened the moment.
23)Oh, and also there was a game, so let me just say that I don't know why they make the players stand through all that.
24)Hello, ceremony, nice, whatever, but they're there to do their jobs, so just let them play football.
25)Don't you think they're nervous enough without having to stand at attention for fifteen minutes before kickoff?
26)Parenthetically, my mom notes, "Now chewing gum is considered standing at attention?"
27)So anyway, it turned out that only when my sister left the room did anyone actually score.
28)I was so, so impressed by both defenses in the first half. Well, the whole game, but really the first half.
29)Didn't they say that was the longest a Super Bowl game had ever been scoreless?
30)I had to work last night, for which I blame Kristin entirely but will try not to dwell on when I see her today.
31)So at nine-thirty I hopped in my car and turned the radio on.
32)It took a bit of a perception shift to make my focus completely auditory rather than mostly visual, but it was fun.
33)I think it's a little easier to follow football on the radio than it is baseball, by the way.
34)Each baseball moment has so much history, right? Strikes, balls, bases--context you need to understand the moment.
35)With football, you get downs and yardage in one phrase, followed by field position, and you're set.
36)When I got to work, though, I couldn't get the game on the radio or TV, and I was like, what?!
37)So do you know how I spent the first half hour of my shift? Come on, guess.
38)That's right. I took the cordless phone out to my car, turned the radio back on, grabbed a blanket and opened the skylight.
39)After the Pats' last touchdown, I went inside for a moment for some snacks, thus missing the first part of the Panthers' drive.
40)But I was back in time to hear *their* last touchdown, and I was like, "They just HAD to bring it down to the wire!"
41)So of course I sat there with my fig newtons and my blanket, staring at the moon as I imagined Reliant Stadium.
42)And you know what I realized? Football is exactly the same whether you can see it or not.
43)I mean, at least in baseball the screen gives you current, contextual information.
44)But in football, what does the screen tell you? The score and the time remaining.
45)The downs, the field position, the flags, all of that appears only when it's announced.
46)And the announcers really keep up with the plays; I was impressed.
47)It must be different for someone who actually plays football, recognizes the plays and wants to see how they're set up.
48)I'm just like, they're running, he's throwing, there's some tackling going on... and the ball's down.
49)Next play! Yeah, they're running again, he fakes, he passes it off, tackling... the ball's down... Next play.
50)I know a lot about what goes on in football.
51)Basically what the announcers say is all I can keep up with anyway.
52)When they set up #4 for a field goal, though, I was like, "No worries."
53)It really doesn't matter how many he missed at the beginning of the game, or how close. He is *good* under pressure!
54)Tedy Bruschi! (I had to say it, 'cause it's number 54 and all. "Full tilt, full time!" I love him.)
55)Anyway, Adam Vinatieri, of course, made the field goal from the 41 yard line and the Pats won 32 to 29.
56)I congratulated both teams, and in the quiet of my car, turned off the radio and grinned up at the stars.
57)Cause you know? It was a fun way to catch the Super Bowl.

Note: Favorite Super Bowl ad? "I fought the law and the law won!"

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