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The Family Factor: How to Navigate a Year Without Football with the In-Laws

July 27, 2010

The last couple of days have been a sort of practice run for when the Year Without Football begins on August 8th.  By mostly avoiding the ESPN Cartel, I’ve found that I’ve been able to steer clear of any and all coverage of the 3rd Annual Brett Favre National String-Along and, apparently, an unbalanced amount of speculation by a rookie’s refusal to carry a veteran teammate’s shoulder pads.  This is what qualifies as football news and it’s a big reason I’m tossing the sport to the curb this year.

Sometimes contact will be inevitable.  With my wife’s brother in town this weekend, we spent some time at her grandparents’ house on a 100-degree afternoon.  These are the types of situations we usually find ourselves in; the men channel surfing in the living room while the women hold a roundtable in the dining room.  The hierarchy of viewing choices usually goes:

1)     Golf

2)     Auto Racing

3)     Football

4)     Miscellaneous

This will produce some pretty entertaining jewels, such as NHRA Funny Car driver John Force responding to an ESPN commentator’s statement that he’s in the top 5 all-time.  Summary: He challenges the announcer to a naked drag race, names about twenty from the top of his head, starts pacing back and forth in disbelief, then compares the commentator to Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

My wife’s father, Rick, and grandfather, Virgil, are both frequent supporters of the high school team in Taft, CA, and discussion of the upcoming season has already begun.  Situations like these will likely be the most difficult part of the experiment; I’d like to hold firm on my plan without coming across as condescending to their interest.  Their response to my plan:

“Yeah, good luck with that around here…”

As it turns out, our family’s connection to local football may turn out to be the greatest barrier to lasting a Year Without Football.  So my wife and I decided to make something positive from the experiment’s failures.

This is Braddock.  He’s a pit bull/boxer mix we adopted from the local SPCA back in November of ’09.  They found him undernourished on the street at about 6 weeks old.  He’ll turn a year old the day of the Hall of Fame game and begins obedience school at the SPCA tonight.  Part of the reason we adopted him was to help dispel the awful reputation given to pit bull breeds through incidents such as Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring.  He’s been an incredible addition to our family and is wonderfully well-behaved for a puppy of his age.

For each day I encounter any mention or reports of events from the football world (aside from fleeting Facebook updates and passing conversation), we’ll donate one dollar to our local SPCA (I’ll keep a running tally to the side).  Additionally, I’ve added a link to the Los Angeles SPCA on the sidebar.  They will receive funding from direct donations and website traffic.



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