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Just Play, Please!

Listening to the Packers game on the radio last Sunday, the announcer exclaimed, “What a great hit! And no flag!” Second announcer replied, “Imagine that.”

I grew up loving the passion and exuberance of an NFL game. Today, I twitch. I twitch with either dread or relief. We scored! Wait 3 minutes for refs to confirm. What a catch! Wait 5 minutes for refs to confirm. That was a text-book tackle – whew, no flag. Every play is followed by a twitching glance to the lower right corner of the television for a yellow box, either dejection from an overruling or an accepted call 3 commercial breaks later, oh that’s nice, need a refill on chip dip!

The NFL is no longer the thrill of extraordinary play, the exertion of willpower and determination. It’s no longer about a bad call from a human official – forget about it, we’ll make it up the next play, life is not fair, suck it up, move on – it’s every player whipping his hand from behind his back looking for a yellow flag, beseeching rescue from someone who isn’t suppose to be a part of the game, who now has become its primary focus.

I want to celebrate a superior display of athleticism. I want to groan at a missed opportunity. I want to joyfully explode from a close win. I want to lose a hard fought battle with pride we did our best.

Today, I’d rather throw a football in the front yard with my kids. At least there won’t be any refs to review the play.

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