No football fan

November 26, 1998|By Ken Gallegos

SAN FRANCISCO -- People think I am a football fan. Maybe it's because I look like a typical guy, or perhaps it's my fading athletic build, or possibly it's just the color of my hair.

Whatever the reason, on football Sundays strangers will persistently ask me about "the game."

The funny thing is that I hate football and haven't actually watched a game since college. Twenty years ago, I stopped watching football because I realized that it was an idiotic game that combined all the violence of boxing without the grace, all the repetition of basketball without the ballet and all the stupidity of professional wrestling without the humor.

As a boy, I loved all sports. I still love baseball and retain a guilty interest in boxing. But not football. For 20 years.

What has life been like for a typical guy who doesn't spend his weekends watching football? In college, it immediately increased cachet with pretty, off-beat intellectual women I would meet on Sundays in bookstores, museums and cafes.

I can honestly say that my football-free existence opened up the worlds of politics, literature and art for me while doing wonders for my social life.

After I got married and became a parent, not watching football gave me every weekend to be with my wife and boys. We learned that the best time to do family activities was on football Sundays. Movies aren't as crowded. I'm usually one of a handful of dads in the theater.

Children's museums, parks and playgrounds are all less crowded. Even though I hate football, I actually love football season -- especially Super Bowl Sunday -- because it's the best opportunity to do family activities.

I suppose it is lucky for me that I was interested in football until I was about 18 because I have retained from that period a knowledge of football trivia. This is useful. Possessing some knowledge of sports trivia can sometimes be a plus in a man's career pursuits.

You never know if you got that promotion because you deserved it or because when the boss mentioned 1970s Oakland Raiders star Jack Tatum, you were the only person in the room who knew that his nickname was "the Assassin."

Life is funny, and maybe my two little boys will get older and want to watch football every weekend. If that day comes, then I'll probably start watching football with them.

And who knows? Maybe I'll even learn to like it again. Until that day, I'll just have to smile and shrug my shoulders when strangers want to know the score.

Ken Gallegos is an elementary school principal in San Francisco.

Pub Date: 11/26/98

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