There are a lot of things that regular people - the vast majority of people - do, that I just don't. I've mentioned before my inability to even express polite interest in music. Another one is football, don't care not interested, moving along. To be honest I am not completely clear on the rules - beyond the fact that it is a sophisticated version of the game I used to play with my brother: "get past me." This game was extra fun on the stairs, because it drove BubbeGoof crazy - she thought one of us would fall to the floor and crack open our skulls. From our perspective, this was, of course, the entire point.
GoofBoy however is obsessed with football. When he was little, he and Carpool Buddy, bored at a party for grown-ups went outside to run plays. They didn't have a ball, they just pretended. I mentioned to CarpoolDad that I had a football in my car, but he just said, "Let's see how long they'll go without a ball."
All afternoon it turned out.
When we go to restaurants, if a football game is on GoofBoy will head over to the bar and talk sports with the bartender and any other patrons. He is 11.
My primary interest in football revolves around stories about Art Donovan eating (in the 1950s eating 30 hotdogs was part of training) and insisting that if I had been governor of Maryland in 1984 (unlikely since I was 13) I would have mobilized the Maryland National Guard and invaded Indiana.
I do root for the Ravens, because when they lose GoofBoy is inconsolable. He is sad for his team and terrified of the merciless torment he will take at school the next day, where his math teacher is a Steelers fan and most of his classmates are Redskins fans. (Have I mentioned he goes to Jewish day school where the quality of the hazing is, to say the least, sub-par?)
But he is my son and I am a loyal dad, so I try. I've watched games with him just to keep him company, and even taken him to games. Here is the thing, it has rubbed off. His endless discourses on plays and players have given me a basic awareness of the game.
At a meeting recently, when talked shifted away from the matters at hand, everyone talked about football. Normally in these circumstances I drift off and think about vice presidents, but somehow was caught up in a group and made appropriate noises for at least five minutes. I went home and thanked GoofBoy, he earned it and as a reward, I tried to look interested as he told me something about the evolution of some sort of back, possibly a player on the offensive line or maybe on the defense - not sure, I started thinking about vice presidents.