Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday morning quarterback

With Week One of the football season in the books and the world premiere of Budding Ventriloquist Presents Gridiron Gurus fast becoming the internet sensation that's sweepin' the nation, I bring you this Norman Rockwellian tale.
***
A Football Memory
by Dan Bushman
4th Hour Advanced Composition
Miss Tephfer
The start of the pro football season was a glorious time in my house.  The Packer jerseys came out, the pot of Spanish hamburgers* cooked on the stove, the black cherry jello with black cherries stood ready in the fridge, and the chips and dip and obligatory veggies were lined up like little soldiers on the table.

That year we joined the big TV and high def** club, which we thought we would never be part of until our tube TV bit the dust.  When we first saw HDTV in our home, we knew that it was invented so we could really enjoy our Packers.

And our family tradition of making football picks continued for the umpteenth time. *** My love of that process gave birth to my new video enterprise, Budding Ventriloquist Presents Gridiron Gurus, and my first production had achieved mediocrity.

Mediocrity was much better than I had hoped. That was keeping me smiling.

So excited I was that I had managed an almost competent production that I wanted to share the fun with my family.  "Is it okay if George picks, too?" I asked my son as I held the pick sheet.

"No, Dad," my son answered flatly. "George has no brain of his own."

My son is 19. He was working on asserting his independence. I couldn't take that personally. I certainly know George didn't.

So I asked my daughter. My daughter, you see, was always very supportive of my acting/ entertaining/ performing efforts, being an actor/ entertainer/ performer herself.

"No Dad. George a puppet. An inanimate object."  The frankness coupled with the "I'm standing firm" look on her face was disappointing.

Then she added, "It would be like giving you two picks."

Ouch. How reality-based that is. Maybe she will become a doctor.

But I made my plea. "But I need to keep track of the picks that George and I make," I said. "I kind of screwed up and didn't pick the same ones I picked when I did my own."

My son sank the dagger into my ribs. "Those would be what we call YOUR problems," he said as he picked up the remote and flipped the channel to check on a different game.

I guess I did the right thing. I let it go. My ventriloquism hobby was, after all, my hobby. It didn't need to invade the lives of my family.

And they didn't need to know what the little unlabelled marks on the edge of the pick sheet are for, as long as George and I know. And if they tell me George and I got 7 of 16 right, is it any skin off their noses?
***
Seven right out of 16 is almost half, I say.  Not bad.

I didn't start  Budding Ventriloquist Presents Gridiron Gurus to become one of those news stories like "microbic amoebas pick every college bowl game right" or "child genius creates statistical formula that gets all games right." I didn't start it to be the end of the debate, but to start it.

I am proud to say this: George and I are the only ventriloquist act picking NFL games on the web - Absolutely the only one. And that's important. That's what you call a niche.
***
*Spanish hamburgers is a special recipe that is not Sloppy Joe. Because if you had some and you said, "wow, what great Sloppy Joe," undoubtedly you would be told, "No, that's Spanish hamburger."  Ironically, it's superior flavor and attitude is best topped off with a slice of American cheese. Not even Valvetta. It is the only time American cheese is used in my house.

** High def is short for high definition video. And boy is it!

*** Based on the age of my kids, umpteenth time would imply my son was picking at the age of 6 and my daughter the age of 3.

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