Monday, December 20, 2010

Keep Your Eye on the Ballgame

Call it the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands." Or, if you're a New York Giants fan, call it "The Nightmare Before Christmas." I'll just call it the worst mistake of my football-viewing career.

Disgusted by the Philadelphia Eagles' heartless play in the most important game of the season, I switched channels in resignation to the Colts-Jaguars game after the Giants had upped the score to 31-10. With 8:17 to go in the game, Philadelphia was surely defeated. Sadly, I sat down at my computer as the Colts and Jaguars slugged it out in their contest, the television over my shoulder. Listening more to the game than watching it, my occasional glances at the action weren't enough to alert me to the monumental comeback slowly progressing on the update ticker at the bottom of the screen. Not until many precious and historic moments had passed did I notice that the Eagles had somehow risen from the dead and tied the Giants, 31-31. Disbelieving, I leaped from my chair and grabbed the remote, furiously pressing the "Last" button as a spate of expletives escaped my lips. A near-eternity elapsed as the screen changed from the Colts-Jaguars game to black to the Eagles game...but there was DeSean Jackson racing across midfield and on his way to a stunning, game-ending, punt-return touchdown—a freshly minted spectacular moment in NFL history.

It was right about this time that my body took on a quick series of animated forms.*

*An incidental ascending vibraphone note may have accompanied each transformation—details are difficult to recall after such a life-altering moment.

I learned my lesson the hard way: Never change the channel. Never break away from a highly anticipated and critical sports contest no matter how lopsided the score. Not even if it's 62-3. With twelve seconds to go. And the starting quarterback has bilateral Joe Theismann leg fractures. And Ron Jaworski and John Gruden are over-enunciating so much that smoke is billowing from the television. And Charlie Batch is squatting in the bush, getting stronger while I get weaker and the walls move in a little tighter.

Never change the channel. Absolutely goddamn right.

(Photo of DeSean Jackson copyright Associated Press; animated photos copyright Warner Brothers.)

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