Monday, January 11, 2010

A Cop Out

I am a huge fan of the famed, fables, and highly talented Erica Orloff. I loved her novel romance Freudian Slip, as well her YA series Magickeepers, but I first got to know Erica via the blogosphere and it was her daily blog that made me a fan. No one does as a good a job of tying in the events of everyday life and applying them to writing the way she does. Her blog never fails to make me stop and think.

Today I'm going to try and emulate her by comparing two of my passions -- Writing and football.

Most people who know me would describe me as a mild-mannered guy and truly I'm not all that excitable except perhaps when I open my burger at the fast food window to discover lettuce and tomatoes on my meal, or, while watching my favorite teams play football.

Yes, I confess I am a television screamer. I have been known to leap a coffee table in a single bound in order to be inches away from the television screen. I feel certain the players, coaches, and refs can hear me better of I am close enough for my angry spittle to land on their faces.

And given my 4 years of experience as a high school ref here in Texas I feel certain that my expertise is sufficient to criticize these people who have spent a lifetime reaching the pinnacle of their profession.

In other words I become an irrational idiot while watching my teams play.

And who are my teams? The Nebraska Cornhuskers when it comes to college football and the New Orleans Saints in the world of NFL ball. Who Dat!

Today I'm going to focus on the latter the New Orleans Saints.

I have been a Saints fan for years. Since the early eighties when I was old enough to start rooting for a particular team. I chose them because of family I had that once called New Orleans home. I have nothing but fond memories of visiting them and my great uncle Jack took great care of me when we visited and once I even got to see the Fonz inside the Superdome as part of a Mardi Gras celebration.Trust me to a seven year old kid in the late 70's that was the epitome of cool.

So I became a devoted Saints fan. A member of the Who Dat nation.

But sadly the Saints have never been an NFL power. Until this year.

More often than not, the boys in black and gold have broken my heart dashed my hopes. But root for them I did anyway. And here is an example of my fervor.

October of 1997 I am weeks away from my wedding and the Saints are playing a Sunday night game against the Bears. My soon to be wife and I have already purchased a home together but I'm the only one living there as out nuptials are still a few weeks away. It is a warm Indian Summer kind of evening. Friends are over to watch the game with me and I attempt to cook them burgers on my miniature George Foreman grill, but I end up burning the meat and filing the house with smoke which means we have to open ALL the windows to breathe.

The game is somewhat boring but the Saints carry a lead late into the 4th quarter thanks to their defense. Then Chicago scores a long touchdown to go ahead with less than a minute to go. To add insult to my anger and disappointed the TV cameras focus in on the Bear player who scored while he dances, shows off and mugs for the home crowd.

The Saints offense has done nothing all night and now they have very little time to move the ball downfield and no timeouts. So I have no hope.

Pinned deep after the kickoff it looks bleak, but then the unthinkable happens. On almost the last play of the game the Saints complete an 80+ yard play to score. I jump up and screamed at the top of my lungs (cover your eyes if you want to maintain your image of me as a pure and virtuous gentleman) "Take that you dancing showboating son of a bitch! You can dance your happy house right back to the locker room cause WE (yeah I used we as if I had been blocking downfield for the receiver) just broke it off in your effin ass!"

I did my own little happy dance as the last ticks on the clock slipped away.

All but one of my friends got in their car and drove away as I set about finding a snack for my now ravenous gut. After all I'd burned the burgers so there hadn't been much to eat.

I never gave a thought to what my screams and shouts must have sounded like to my new neighbors. I was caught up in the euphoria of the Saints victory as well as my hunger. I found a loaf of banana nut bread my grandmother had made, cut of a few slices for my friend, poured us two glasses of milk to wash it down and returned to the living room.

But then I heard my dog growling from outside. I sat my snack down and opened the front door. Only to find a county sheriff's deputy with a can of pepper spray poised at the ready to squirt my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rosie.

"Can I help you?" I asked.
"Can you call your dog off?" The officer asked never taking his eyes of her exposed teeth.

"Rosie come." I patted my leg and she trotted to my side.
"You mind locking her up?" The deputy asked.

I opened the front door and let Rosie in.

The deputy then proceeded to tell me that a neighbor had called dispatch and reported a domestic disturbance in progress. They claimed I was new in the neighborhood and I was in the act of beating my wife. Being a bit slow I still had not connected the dots that my earlier screaming had prompted the visit.

I explained that I was not even married, but was to be in a few weeks. However my fiance was at work and had not been to the house all day. The deputy asked if he could take a look around and with nothing to hide I invited him in. He checked the rooms and even opened a few closets before asking if my and my lone friend that had stayed had been fighting. We both answered no, but then it hit me so I said, "We were watching football and I got excited when the Saints came back and won. I did yell pretty loud."

"What did you yell?" the officer asked.

I explained and he grinned. "Yeah that would sound kind of bad to someone down the road." Still grinning he pointed at the banana nut bread and glass of milk I had yet had a chance to eat. "You guys enjoy your snack but do me a favor, next time the Saints play close your windows."

So what in the world does this have to do with writing you ask?

Not much. Oh I could draw some kind of weak analogy between the disappointment of being a lifelong Saints fan and a writer trying to sell a manuscript, but I couldn't do half the job Erica does on a daily basis. Her comparisons actually make sense and are always timely and well thought out. Besides having rambled on long enough already, I just wanted to give Erica a shout out and a plug for her books because she really is that talented.

Go check her out now.


Lyzzydee said...

Brilliant, did your neighbours move soon after????

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Great story, Travis. But I am shocked, SHOCKED, by your creative use of language and imagery. Ha ha!

Charles Gramlich said...

Any Saints fan gets a pass from me. Well screamed!

Lana Gramlich said...

Of course Charles approves...He's a screamer, too! ;)

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Ha! Now I'm wondering what the neighbors think when I'm watching hockey......

Melissa Amateis said...

Oh, man. That was HILARIOUS!

Being Beth said...

Great post Travis! ROTHL!!!!

I too am a huge fan of Erica Orloff. I agree -- she's THAT talented.

WordVixen said...


BTW, I'm also a Saints fan, though for a much different reason. Since I loathe sports, I choose my team on other criteria- I like fleur des lys. :-)

Brian Miller said...

lol. nice shout out...both for erica and the Saints...i might have to make sure my windows are closed during the play offs...

Eric said...

That's hilarious Travis. I can't imagine why you'd be feeling good about the Saints this year though...kidding...kidding

I'm as much a fan of your blog as I am Erica's. I read her stuff (and yes she is a must-read for any potential writer), but honestly I would argue you are at least as entertaining and instructive, whether you know it or not. Don't cut yourself too short. And great post. I really enjoyed the tale.

savannah said...

PERFECT! i loved this, sugar! i routinely shout at the tv, especially during saints games!!!! who dat! roll on, baby! xoxoxoxox

Aleta said...

R O T F L M A O. THAT was Great! And I can SO relate. I'm a tame person by nature, but stick me in front of the TV with the Saints playing and I become Aleta, Version 2.0. Lol. Greg says, "Aleta has turrents when she watches TV." I yell, I cuss, I scream. I didn't even realize I was doing it, until Greg taped me (didn't realize he did it) and then I was mortified. He laughed and said he liked that I got into the game.

Hilarious about the neighbors and what you said. *still laughing*

Loved the post for the smiles and even more so because you're a Who Dat fan! WOOT!!! WOOT!!! Scream away this Saturday!! Make 'em WIN!!!

Aleta said...

Oh! And when the TV focuses on the other team doing a "dance" - that just rattles my cage. Also, we don't listen to the commenters on TV any more. They are SO anti-Saints. We mute the TV and listen to the Saints Radio :)

mielikki said...

nothing wrong with being a Saints fan
I loved this

sybil law said...

That's just funny!
Don't all guys yell and scream at the tv when it comes to sports? I am not even joking - I don't know any who don't!

Rocketstar said...

It should be a great game, maybe another one like the GB AC game, wow!

I think the Saints win 31 - 27

Cloudia said...

another great TRavis tale!

the walking man said...

Substitute politicians debating on C-Span and I can see myself in this scene.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Heading right over.


Jessica Nelson said...

Oh LOL!!! I had to skip some of the football details because it's like reading calculus to me, but the end of this post is SO hilarious!!!

I'm assuming the neighbors no longer think you beat your wife?

Rick said...

Very cool! I don't even watch football and I loved this.

Bubblewench said...

Omg. Hysterical! My husband is the same way.. and I make sure the windows are closed when games are on...

Merry Monteleone said...

My husband is a bears fan. He's screamed worse stuff than that. Fortunately, the neighbors all know what he's yelling about... and if anyone was getting beat up in this house, I doubt any of them would guess it would be me taking the beating :-)

Writing Without Periods! said...

I would comment, but I'm laughing too hard!


Crystal Posey said...

OMG I love Freudian Slip! Love, love, love it!!!

Okay, back to reading this post....

Crystal Posey said...

Okay, I got it read while juggling the screaming teething child. I laughed so hard at the last paragraph, awesome. And now I'm trying to figure out why I'm not reading her blog.

*runs to track it down*