Football, Soccer, and the Cinema
Sunday's Seattle/Green Bay game was the first time all season that I watched an entire NFL game-- start to finish-- and while the finish turned out to be extremely exciting, I was mildly annoyed for the first three quarters: Seattle looked inept, and there were a lot of commercials for new movies (which wasn't annoying in itself, I can usually tune out movie trailers but my children and their friend had to do a full review of how "awesome" each movie looked . . . they-- like many folks much older-- are still deceived by the fast cuts and the good music into thinking that every movie will be a masterpiece, simply on the strength of its trailer) but luckily my friend Roman was demoing his new deep-fryer for us, so he kept us all amused through the slow sections of the game with delicious and crispy fried-treats . . . and then, of course, the last thirty minutes of the game were a lightning-paced rollercoaster of plot twists and spectacular plays (and discussions about the rules-- my kids are still at the age where the ins-and-outs of onside-kicks and two-point conversions are riveting . . . and I can get sucked into it as well: I still don't understand why Seattle didn't go for two when they were down 16-0 and they scored their first touchdown . . . but seeing how the game turned out, I guess that's why I'm not an NFL coach) and I will say that it was fun to watch football with a bunch of soccer players (my son mistakenly called the Superbowl "the World Cup" during the game, much to the amusement of his friend, who is a real football fan) and unlike a soccer match-- which would have been long over if it was 3-0 in the rain going into the last stretch of the game, an NFL football game always has the possibility of a cinematic ending . . . and no matter what, there will be "an ending"-- a specifically final chance, an official climax-- unlike the flow of a soccer match, where there is no exact moment you can call the last attempt at victory-- and so I guess we like out sports the same way we like our movie trailers: episodic, fast-paced, explosive, and awesome (and Seattle's fake kick to set-up their first touchdown was extra awesome for me, because it made me remember why I started rooting for the Seahawks in the first place-- I was watching a Giants game in 1979, pre-LT, so it was ponderous-- and at the half they showed Seattle running a fake-field goal play and then throwing the ball to their little Mexican kicked, Efren Herrerra, who scored a touchdown . . . and apparently they did this often, and so, on the merits of that awesome play, the Seahawks became my AFC team -- they were the opposite of the Giants: they had no running game to speak of, except when Jim Zorn scrambled; and Zorn mainly heaved lefty passes at his little wunderkind white-boy wide-receiver, Steve Largent, and-- until they got Kenny Easly in 1981-- their defense was porous . . . it's hard to identify the current NFC powerhouse Seahawks to that AFC expansion team, but it still reminds me that I had a super-excellent Seattle trash can in my room when I was a kid-- the Seahawk logo wrapped all the way around, and I was also the only kid in town sporting a Jim Zorn jersey).