Getting your game on: An NFL primer for new fathers

If at any point in the last 24-48 hours you found yourself narrowly avoiding a collision with a formula can (or breast pump) moving at mach speed past your head, you are a new father.  Congratulations!  Welcome to the miraculous and joy-filled game of Parenthood. 

Please note: The NFL (National Father’s League) does not sponsor, endorse or condone training camp for rookies, so strap on your pads and prepare for orientation on living the dream, dude. 

Understand the environment.  In all probability, conditioning to reach your current state of athletic prowess has involved extensive participation in this or other sports (e.g, dating and/or marriage).  You are no doubt versed in the basic tenets of the game.  But this is prime time, buddy, and let me clue you in:  you aren’t in Cornhusker country anymore.  You are standing on a field in a stadium filled with no fewer than two dozen screaming fans and an enraged quarterback who is, make no mistake, also the head coach.  They will turn on you in a second if you drop the ball.  

Acknowledge your fear, and find a way to make it work for you. For new players, the transition from the relative-predictability of college ball (marriage) to the pros (family life) can evoke a full range of complex and often overlapping emotions.  Yes, feelings.  Get used them, they’re going to be hanging around for awhile.   Chief among these feelings is fear.  Particularly during the first game.  When the ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in, be prepared to man up or suffer the wrath of a particularly terrifying defensive lineman known as ‘The Mother-in-Law.’ 

Pregame analysis.  Before we get to the good stuff — the stuff that will keep you upright and intaking air until the end of the game — allow us to address a few concerns: 

  • The QB’s ‘weight issue’:  Sure, the chick throwing the passes is carrying a little extra weight due to over-excessive, off-season binge eating.  But with proper support and encouragement from you, she can and will snap back into some semblance of her prime form. If she does not, make like Michael Vick and LIE. Convincingly. 
  • The ball (your baby) is crucial to the game, but you can’t play without a team.  Let me reiterate:  Quarterbacks need receivers every bit as much as they need the ball.  However, balls (in this particular instance) are small, helpless and require 24/7 care. Transforming yourself into a like being will not get you the same level of attention or adoration.  It will get you smothered with a stack of rancid jocks.

Getting your game on.  This is the important part, so put down the Blackberry and beer and pay attention.   The handy nuggets below represent the new game plan.  Get on board, and you will be the guy catching the game-winning pass with two seconds left to go in the Super Bowl of Domestic Bliss.  Trust me, the crowd will go wild. 

1.   When the ball is delivered onto the field, act impressed.  Your team leader has labored anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to deliver a bright, shiny, perfect new football in order for you to get your game on.  The least you can do is act impressed.  Shed a tear, for God’s sake.  Or at least look like you’re fighting one back.  Tell her she’s beautiful.  Or that you can’t believe the team was lucky enough to have scouted and effectively drafted an athlete with such grace and cut-throat competitive instincts. (See also: push presents.  Quarterbacks like shiny stuff. Especially on Mother’s Day.) 

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9. Yes, this Sunday. Dust off your credit card, Daddy.

You can thank us for this public service announcement later.

2.  Know your role.  The economy has hit everyone hard.  Fans are dispersed all over the country and just can’t support the game like they used to.  So we’re gonna need you to pick up a little slack.  This does not mean you get to assume the role of head coach.  When you pass a football through your urethra, you can call the shots, my friend.  Until then, know that in addition to kicking and receiving, you get to be head cheerleader (cute skirt not included), custodian and head concession cook.  That’s right…I said COOK.  This involves gathering ingredients and heating them to a temperature that kills bacteria.  If you are unfamiliar with how to execute this activity, call your mother.  Or take a class.  The days of some cute, tight-t-shirt-wearing desperate housewife waiting for you at the table with a hot meal are over.  At least for now. 

3.  Anticipate the routes.  Your Quarterback does not need ‘help.’  (No matter what her current hormone levels may indicate.)  She needs a TEAM PLAYER.  Cheerful compliance is a good thing.  But to win, you’ve got to anticipate the plays.  Ask questions.  And when you’re on the way to practice, call and see if she needs anything.  Like formula.  Or lunch.  Or Valium.  Execute effectively here and… 

4.  You…could…go…ALL…THE…WAY!  Yes, if you play hard and adhere to the game plan outlined above you will eventually score.  Again.  Someday.  Just remember, the rules of this game are different.  On your mad dash to the end zone, don’t forget to secure the ball.  Preferably into a high chair with a chocolate-frosted brownie or on the couch with an action-packed episode of Spongebob.  The ball’s attention span is short, so keep in mind that you may only have 11-16 minutes to undertake the entire process from the time the Quarterback calls the play until you’re doing your ultra-cool Super Bowl shuffle.  Pay attention.  Act quickly.  And don’t even THINK about uttering the word ‘nightie’ or assessing the pattern of hair growth on the QB’s legs.   That’s not even a little bit funny.

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7 Responses

  1. And this list of demands is only the tip of the iceberg, in my opinion. I sure wish I was married to someone who spelled it all out for me all the time. Must be nice being a man.

    • Indeed, lol.

  2. Ok, if my cheerleader doesn’t get stuck in a cute, short skirt, I don’t wanna play.

    There’s got to be fun for me SOMEWHERE, and abject ridicule really works for me.

    • A grown man in a cute, short skirt would provide ample opportunity for ridicule, wouldn’t it? I mean really, it’s all about US, right?

  3. You should write a brochure for new fathers that they can stock in OB offices. It could be called “Similac is not a town in Wisconsin”.

    • Brian — You are clearly a kind, wise man with the ability to see humor and good intentions cloaked in a never-ending and possibly boxer-bunching football analogy. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give it some thought. Seems a shame to let such a hilarious title go to waste.

  4. […] Troupe Last Night and I Have to Include It As Absolute Proof that I Really Do Like Guys Despite the NFL Post‘ goes […]

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