Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

Updated 9/27/2012: So apparently the NFL got the message and got to talking. Or they planned to start negotiating this week anyway. Apparently there will be trained refs tonight, even before the deal is finalized. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve fallen in love with the ideal of listening to the Packers game on the radio Sunday while exploring Wisconsin–think I’ll take my camera along. We have soccer practice on Thursday night, and I have plans to attend a talk by Sir Ken Robinson at the Wisconsin Science Festival on Sunday morning. So, I’m out of the habit of being hooked on the NFL, and I think that is a good thing.

I love my Packers. I’ll listen to news casts to see how they are doing as the season progresses and I’ll watch their games, but I think the NFL has blown it. They had a good thing going, but they acted without integrity, frankly, and that just doesn’t sit well with me. It’ll take some time before I become the football fan that I was. I’ve moved on. If you’ve moved on, check out the list below on alternatives to spending your entire Sunday watching NFL games.


Okay, I’ve tried to take the high road on this whole NFL and the replacement officials debacle. And frankly do agree in principle with what Herm Edwards said on Mike and Mike, “know your skill level”. The skill level of the refs is amateur (at best, IMO), and the players and coaches are the professionals on the field right now. So, the players and the coaches have to BE professionals. That said, football is an emotional sport, it’s hard to ask a player to be cool, calm and collected in the heat of the moment, especially since the NFL has let things get so horribly out of control.

That things are so horribly out of control is amazing, since the NFL as an organization has made player safety their mantle and their mantra over the last several years. At its best and most controlled, American football is a gladiator sport. As it was played this weekend, it’s, well, it’s losing fans like me who want to see clean play that relies on skill, aptitude and at least a little intelligence.

Now the only way to make the NFL honor its supposed commitment to safety and integrity is to hit it in the pocketbook (since they seem determined to be weasels). So, I am offering some alternatives to turning on the boob tube this weekend to watch NFL teams that you don’t really care about play their games.

  1. Those of us in Wisconsin who really want to support our AWESOME Green Bay Packers, tune your car radio (AM is best for this) for a nostalgic ride down some of Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads as you listen to the local commentators call the game. Support local radio and local advertisers and enjoy the color change that is under way in Wisconsin.
  2. Fall has arrived across the US. Take a bike ride along the many rails-to-trails bike paths that we have in the US. It’ll do wonders for your heart too!
  3. Go to a Pop Warner or local high school football game. Better yet volunteer to coach or referee the local youth soccer or football league. Meet your neighbors, cheer on the local kids. Get involved in your community.
  4. Catch some of the great baseball that is on. There are a couple of wildcard races that are hot, and the Tigers and White Sox are in a toe-to-toe battle to see who can lose that division first.
  5. Listen to a great American novel, and get sucked into one of the greatest life struggle stories of all time read by some amazing people: Melville’s Moby Dick a chapter a day.
  6. Spend time with the people you love. Go out for a walk around the neighborhood, or down the road to the ice cream shop. Or help your kids with their math homework. Or check out your local public library.

Who knows? You might even find new interest. Heck, you could even learn how to referee an NFL game!

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