Not too many people enjoy football as much as I do and this time of year is any football lovers’ paradise. Almost every day there is a college post-season game and the National Football League is edging ever closer to the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
There simply is nothing as invigorating as a good football game being played in the harsh winter elements. And while I don’t think I would ever brave such elements to actually sit through a game, I enjoy watching the mudfest on television.
Actually, I must confess that I did sit through one such game in the frigid outdoor temperatures on a Sunday afternoon in Baltimore in the 1970s. I was a 10th-grader in high school when two post-high school yeshiva students offered to take me to a Baltimore Colts game. Leaving campus would violate school rules, especially to attend something as pedestrian as a football game. Nevertheless, the lure of the NFL was too great and I succumbed to temptation.
The only problem was that my coat was in the study hall near the front of the building. To retrieve it and exit while I should’ve been in that same study hall would have been almost as foolish as sitting through a three-hour game without a coat — which is exactly what I did. Wearing only a sweatshirt, I accompanied my two friends to the wind-whipped stadium where I proceeded to become a living example of cryogenics.
Fortunately, my two yeshiva friends were quite large and I was smart enough to sandwich myself between them. Whenever they sat down I was warm; whenever they stood up I froze. I became a lot smarter since that Sunday, which I have dubbed “Pneumonia Sunday;” I will never risk life and limb to attend a football game again.