The Legend of Cecilio Guante
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Sunday football viewing will never be the same

A bygone era...

A bygone era…

Things change with kids. Those of us with offspring know of this fact through far too many examples to list. I’ve been reminded time and again in only 13 short months. Ellie and her mother are my two girls. They’re my everything. But, on occasion, I’m still blindsided by the former and her ability to change everything…like my ability to watch football. This past Sunday served as a startling flashing light. An ALL CAPS MEMO that said clearly and quite loudly: WATCHING FOOTBALL IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

You see, football is one of my happy places. A couch. A beer. Food. Maybe a friend or two. Or just my wife who boasts a wonderful football IQ despite pledging her allegiance to Big Blue. While sports bars are still nice on occasion, I prefer the at-home viewing experience above pretty much anything else. My lovely Pioneer plasma still offers a dazzling HD picture. The bathroom never has a line. The fridge is steps away. All is good.

Sunday, however, shattered this long-standing convention. The plan was so simple and so, so naive. It was my birthday. The Jets were opening at 1. I had very few requests. We ordered wings. There was a delightful seven-layer Mexican dip. Great rolls and cold cuts for halftime heroes. Cold beers. Dad even made the trip in to relax for a bit. I only forgot about one thing: Ellie.

During her first “official” NFL season, my dear girl was only a few months out of the womb. She delightfully slumped in a chair or one of those rocky-swing-like thingies and stared peacefully in the distance. Blissfully happy and utterly unaware of her surroundings. Perhaps, most notably, almost completely…IMMOBILE. Oh what a difference a year makes.

By this past Sunday, Ellie had weeks-ago mastered the whole walking thing. Our kind and sincere requests for her to sit and watch the game with Mommy, Daddy and Poppy went unheeded. Trying to break down the Wildcat or explain the nickel defense using various blocks and stuffed animals proved a fruitless endeavor. Those moments of pleasure? The long, slow pull on my Budweiser bottle? The dedicated destruction of some wings. The simple joy of focusing on the on-field play of Gang Green and — who knows — sharing opinions on the action…all vanished. Gone. Lost forever. Instead, energy was dedicated to simply avoiding utter chaos.

First, there was the realization that hors d’ oeuvres must be moved into the center of the coffee table and ostensibly piled in a tower to avoid the grasp of my nimble little one. This only after she played Captain Hook using a plastic cup of bleu cheese. Cute, yes. But not worth the mess. Next it was her scattering of chicken bones in various areas of our lightly-colored rug (after gnawing on them a bit with our permission and blessing) leaving a faint trail or orange-hued wing residue in various spots. The Mexican dip miraculously remained unscathed. Carrots and celery were sprinkled like confetti around the living room – which, frankly, didn’t bother us a bit. By that time, we determined that lunch would be “serve yourself” from the kitchen.

Consider it a lesson learned.

No, football viewing at home may never be the same. But I’ll take the Jets win. And I guess I’ll take Ellie, too. Next time, I’ll just better hide the bleu cheese.

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