Going On The Account: Blogtober – In Terris Sicut Es In Etiam Pila…

It’s day twenty five of Blogtober, and this is the last Sunday I have to share the demand for content with the other big demand on my day.

Yes, I do what a lot of Americans do today; they too are thankful for Sunday, on which they do not go to work but still work themselves up, going through their rituals, giving thanks for what they have been bestowed or asking for the strength to bear with what they have been given, looking for something beyond themselves to be a part of on a higher level.

Yes, I too watch football…

Unlike some competitors for our attention on how to spend that day of the week, the National Football League has done a much better job of packaging its promises of participating in a purposes beyond oneself.  The sense of community it engenders does feel more inclusive, encourages more consideration of the implications of alternative interpretation, and can explain its stands clearly and with little doctrinaire trickery, the way the league I used to follow could not…

Yes, it is more inclusive.  Admittedly, there are some strong divisions between sects that have problems reconciling most of the time, I admit.  Even I too have felt some disdain for Cowboys fans, which I acknowledge isn’t entirely fair.  Even during the years when their pride gets the better of them and they get to be unbearable, one needs to show better tolerance; and the way things are going for them this year, they probably need a bit of sympathy as well…

As for alternative  interpretations, the NFL does hold out hope for everyone, at least at the very beginning of the season.  And unlike some who claim no hope for you from the get-go, your inability to get where you wish to be is entirely in your own hands.  For even the lowest of the low have it entirely in their power to rise up and find final glory through their own actions and commitment.

That said, some folks just have a world of trouble, despite everything…

As for explaining its stands… Well, yes, they have had their issues with these, much as others have had them.  The ref strike was not the high point of where the leaders should have taken us, especially coming at the time the NFL started to take the concussion issue more seriously, showing us that they did listen to their members and responded, unlike some groups refusing to heed other voices.

Why, you may ask, the religious comparisons?  Probably because of how I got involved…

I was living in Buffalo at the time, getting my life straightened out, questioning everything around me.  It was a dank day, wisps of snow dancing along the sidewalk, blown off Lake Erie like a line of ballet dancers, which looks pretty the first time you see it, but by day 17 starts to eat at you.  Looking for a little break from the cold, I popped into a convenience store, dropped a few quarters into the video game there, then tried to extend my stay by being pickier with what bag of chips I wanted to have with my soda.

(Even though I lived in Buffalo for quite some time, I never ended up calling “soda” by the locally preferred phrase “pop.”   What that says about what happened to me that day, I leave to smarter people with a better understanding of psychology and neurosurgery…)

And there around the counter by the register were three people, folks a little older than I was, discussing the Buffalo Bills‘ options that season.  It was not a good season that year, and worse was coming.  They knew they were doomed, that things were bleak, but they held out hope for next year, discussed where they could do better, offering their hopes for better times to come.

A cynic would have laughed at them.  A hard hearted statistician would have tried to  kill what little of their faith had been there.  A hardened criminal would have taken advantage of their malaise, grabbed four bags of chips and an extra soda, maybe a magazine, and booked with the lot while hoping they could get three blocks before the owner called the cops…

I did none of that.  I was swept up in the only warm glow that dreary day held, and like Constantine the Great I started to appreciate their hope and longings.  A few days later, when Sunday rolled around, I started to watch a Bills game in a whole new way.

Like any convert, I immersed myself in the minutiae that those born into it  just accepted.  This served me well when the two-point conversion was introduced into pro football, as I was better able to handle it without some of the rancor others around me were showing, and it enabled me to better weather the last NFL realignment by seeing it in the context of a wider debate.

And I’m still very much a fan of the Bills to this day.  For a while, I would catch any Bills game that might be in this market (thankfully, we’re committed to two because of the conference rivalry with the Jets), but when NFL RedZone was introduced I had the best of all worlds in that I got in real time the the important parts of the Bills games, along with those of the other big games that Sunday.

Between you and me, when your TV market is geared around the Jets and the Giants, there are some seasons if those are your only games that day that your faith gets seriously tested…


You know, this is the most I’ve written about football.  Maybe it’s just the Blogtober screaming demand for content seasonal cheer here, or its because the League moved faster than one of my stories…

I had in my back pocket on the list of pieces to write a story set in the near future about the NFL, trying to handle a crisis concerning an appalling appearance of sexism after an unfortunate incident with a few players, deciding that one way to handle it would be to bring in a female referee squad to handle a game, and show the world the League was not as much of a “boys club” as it was appearing to be.

Well, before I could get around to that one, Shannon Estin became the NFL’s first female ref during the strike, which made my piece no longer as timely and daring as it would have been.  Unfortunately, her stand came about because of the strike, and it got lost in the circumstances of the dispute which was better remembered for the Packers-Seahawks fiasco (which thankfully she was not calling).

My hope is that on a non-emergency basis the League will allow for more such chances in the future, and give more women the chance to ref a game.  Clearly they can do better than that other league.

On this, I hold some faith…

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