Let’s talk football.

Not that namby-pamby kick-the-ball-all-over-the-place game Europeans (and elitist Americans) like. Real football. American football.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, American football isn’t so much about feet as much as it’s about very, very large men in very funny tight clothing and helmets, fighting over a funny-shaped ball. Only, said fighting is done in a very prescribed fashion.

You see, said very, very large men are allowed to fight over the funny-shaped ball when, and only when much smaller men in striped shirts tell them it’s OK to do so. Should one team or another try to fight over the funny-shaped ball too early, one of the much smaller men will throw a weighted yellow handkerchief onto the field, and the violator and his team will be punished by making him and his team go in the opposite direction they wish to go.

(Of course, this raises the question; why don’t the larger men just beat the little guys up and do what they want? One word: Sportsmanship.)

Also, when the smaller men in striped shirts blow a whistle, the very large men are required to immediately stop fighting over the funny-shaped ball. Should the very, very large men in funny tight clothing continue to fight over the funny-shaped ball after the smaller men in striped shirts blow their whistles, the men in striped shirts will again toss the afore mentioned weighted yellow handkerchief onto the field, and the offender and his team will once again have to move in the opposite direction they wish to go.

(Raising the question again: why don’t the large men just beat the smaller guys up and do what they want? Again: Sportsmanship.)

And quite often in the process, the fighting is stopped so the very, very large men can gather in huddles, and offer each other encouraging pats on the heinie.

Throughout the process, though, sportsmanship must abound. The very large men are allowed to push each other around, throw each other to the ground, and, within reason, collide with each other. But they are to do this in the spirit of sportsmanship, and not in the spirit of gratuitous violence.

Well, a funny thing happened during a recent game between the Pittsburgh Steelers, (Named for city’s most famous industry,) and the Cleveland Browns, (Named for the franchise’s first coach and not the color of the sky there.)

Very near the end of the game, a very, very large man from Cleveland, and a smaller large man from Pittsburgh got into a tussle. They ‘rassled around on the ground a bit, and then they tried to rip each other’s helmets off. The very, very large man was finally able to forcibly remove the smaller man’s helmet, and then he tried to beat him with it.

The smaller men in striped shirts all tossed their weighted handkerchiefs to the ground, and blew their whistles, but the two men continued to brawl; and a number of their teammates joined the fray. (No one was forced to move in the opposite direction they wanted to move, because the game was over.)

Just so you know this behavior outside a football stadium is known as “assault with a deadly weapon.” Inside a football stadium, it’s called, “an incident.”

And the result of this incident… uh… assault…whatever, was the very, very large man from Cleveland, who bonked the smaller large men with his own helmet, (or bonker, as it were,) isn’t allowed to fight over the funny-shaped ball for the rest of the year. Also, a few of the other players who entered the fray afterward can’t fight over the funny-shaped ball for a few weeks or so, and the not-so-large man who got bonked (Or bonkee, as it were,) received a headache.

Wait. It gets better.

Some days later, the very, very large man claimed the whole thing began because the not-so-large man called him a racially insensitive name, which means offending someone is now considered an excuse for assault with a deadly weapon.

The moral of the tale?

There is none.

 What? You were expecting morality here in the rabbit hole?

Silly you.

Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.

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