Cheering for the right team?

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut, Feature, Kitchen Table Talk

No one who knows me well would consider me a serious sports fan. I certainly never played anything any more competitive than Kick the Can with the Dixie Street gang when I was growing up.

I was an extraordinarily dedicated Soccer Mom, and soccer is pretty much the only sport I truly understand and can speak about intelligently.

Still, I want to be a good spectator for football, a little basketball, some golf and any soccer game. With the boredom that overcomes me while searching primetime and weekend television, I find myself searching for a good game to watch quite often these days.

One reason is that it puts something on the screen that doesn’t immediately cause my husband to zone out, and we can actually watch TV together. His history shows (where do they find those narrators!) and my British and Amazon Prime shows cause a great divide and often lead to watching television in separate rooms.

With football, Neville, my husband, is more than just a fan of the teams playing. He is a fan of the game and understands it. I am interested onlyif I have someone to cheer for. I have to be vested in the outcome to care enough to watch.

When it comes to the NFL, I am suffering from Peyton Withdrawal Syndrome. Now that he has retired, I search for reasons to care about one of the teams in whatever game is on. I pull for the Titans, for obvious reasons. I like the Saints because a dear high school friend has a future son-in-law on the team. The Cowboys were easy to love because I am a big Jason Witten fan, but then he retired. I can get on the 12th-man bandwagon with the Seahawks because my younger son lives in Seattle. Sometimes, the Giants because, well, they have a Manning. Beyond those teams, I am reduced to choosing based on geography (Southern states) or searching the roster for familiar former Vols.

College football is easier. Vols first, SEC teams next, Ohio State because I love my Buckeye-obsessed grandson and then a couple of ACC teams when pushed.

There’s a ranking to my SEC team loyalty, with Alabama following the Vols, then everybody else randomly except Florida, who is dead set last, even below Missouri and Texas A&M, which I am still trying to figure out.

Looks like I am pretty good in the cheering department for the games coming up Saturday. I won’t have any pain in pulling for Clemson to beat Notre Dame, and I have Alabama in the catbird seat for the second game.

My husband will be a willing participant in watching with me, although I can guarantee you he has a whole different set of criteria for picking whom he favors. Sometimes he is happy to just watch a good game and doesn’t even care who wins!

Not me. If all else fails, I will cheer for the team with the prettiest jerseys.

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