Mind Munches

The love child of word vomit & metaphors

Embrace the Change, Even if it’s a Rental

For the past week or so I’ve been driving a rental car. I was in a minor accident at the end of October and so my car—who some of you might know I call Jeffrey—is currently in the shop getting himself a new passenger’s side door and an overall spiff up.

In the meantime, I’m driving a white Kia which, when it’s parked in the garage next to my roommate’s white Acura, has officially been dubbed half of the “white car crew”—because we try to make everything a little exciting.

The Kia, which I’ve named “Ren” (for rental) is vastly different than Jeff, and in the last week of driving him around, I’ve really been able to pinpoint the distinctions.

For starters, Ren is a 2017 Kia Optima while Jeff is a 2007 Saturn Ion, so obviously I’ve taken a huge jump forward in terms of technology. There’s Bluetooth, a backup camera, automatic headlights, shortcut buttons on the steering wheel, and automatic windows. (Swoon)

But even with all of these positives, I spend most of my time picking out things I don’t like about the car. Things I’ve grown comfortable with in my own car, that I miss and would rather not lose, even if it’s only for a few weeks.

The other day, as I was sitting at a stoplight, I was turning my steering wheel back and forth, a habit I’d picked up while driving Jeff because the steering wheel squeaks. Ren’s steering wheel however, does not. It’s silent and smooth and doesn’t have the cracked exterior I pick at when I’m nervous.

This got me thinking.

We’re always looking for the bigger and the better, right? We dream and we look forward, craving the possibilities of the future, rarely looking back at the comforts of the past. I likely wouldn’t have noticed many of the oddities I’ve found that I like about Jeff until I was put in a situation like this where I’m in a completely new car with completely new oddities. The same goes for a new job, a new house, a new relationship, etc.

No matter how much we might be looking for a change in a particular situation, we are always going to have parts of our old situation that we will miss if/when we finally do make that change.

One day I’ll get a new car and all the things I love about Jeff will be gone. I’ll have to break in the driver’s seat and get the mirrors right. I’ll have to find the perfect air temperature and restock the backseat and the trunk with the odds and ends I always like to keep with me.

When that day comes, I will undoubtedly be sad. Sure, I’ll be excited to have a new car, but I’m sure I’ll spend many an afternoon drive thinking about things I liked about my old car. But just as I’ve tried to tell myself now, in the wake of this rental: I can’t dwell on it.

When we make these big changes, either by our choice or by the choices of those around us, we are forced to deal with the ripples. Maybe that new job won’t have your favorite restaurant next door or that tradition you have with your coworkers. Maybe your new relationship won’t have the same dynamic or will take longer to find a new normal. Maybe your new car won’t have a squeaky (yet weirdly comforting) steering wheel.

We are always going to find things to miss about what we had, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, there is a reason you wanted to make this change or why this change found you. And even if the change is only temporary, like this rental car, it would be a waste to spend our days comparing and complaining.

Embrace where you are, what you have and who you’re with right now. Find out what you like and don’t like about what’s right in front of you, not in comparison to what’s behind you.

For me, I can’t wait to get my car back, but I’m thankful I’ve been provided a car to drive in the meantime. And as long as I have it, I solemnly swear to cherish these automatic windows.

Stay Loyal to Your Team, Stay Loyal to Your Dream

On this blog I often talk a lot about dreams. I wonder and I hope and I try to be honest about what I’m doing to try and make mine come true, in the hopes that it can inspire you to do the same. Sometimes I talk about baseball, and my boys in blue, and how their dreams tend to mix with some of my dreams, especially in October.

Last night, I watched Game 5 of the World Series, and unfortunately saw the Dodgers lose to the Boston Red Sox. It was hard, the way it always is when you know the season is officially over, but also in that deeper, tougher way that you can only experience when your season ends in the World Series and it’s not with a trophy in your hands. My mom, sister and I watched from home and my dad watched from a seat in the stands, and we all slumped our shoulders and sighed when the last out was made.

Not this year.

It’s a phrase I’ve become rather familiar with, both in baseball, since the Dodgers haven’t won the World Series since 1988—two years before I was born—and in life, because there are a number of dreams that haven’t necessarily come true yet.

Not this year. Not this job. Not this time. I’m sorry, but no.

The difference is, it’s easy to take the loss in baseball. Well, not easy, but easier. When the game ends and you watch the other team run into each others arms and hold the trophy up  over their heads, you sulk and you sigh and you wish things were different, but eventually you move on. And as the months go by and April comes into focus, you put on your hat and your jersey and you show up to your first game with a new attitude, a new set of possibilities and a new determination to win.

You stay loyal, no matter what. No matter how bad last season was. No matter how far from the finish line you stood when the last out was made. You take a seat in the stands and you say, “let’s try again.”

But how often do we bring that same positive mindset into our own lives? How loyal are we to our own reset buttons? How quick are we to bounce back and try again after our own losses and failures?

At the beginning of every season, every team in the MLB has a 1/30 chance to win the World Series. And after 175 (or so) games, that crazy, farfetched whisper of a possibility becomes a reality for one team.

The dream you’re striving for, the dream that I’m striving for, while they might have better or worse odds, still have that one chance. And unlike being a fan, we have the power to take it. We’re not sitting in the stands, complaining about what we would have done different, we’re in the game, responsible for our own successes and failures, and even more, responsible for gathering up the nerve to come back and say, “let’s try again.”

I’ll always root (root root) for the Dodgers. I’ll always show up in April, no matter how heartbreaking October was, and I assume you’d do the same for your team. But we need to start employing that loyalty in our own lives, for our own dreams. We need to take all that passion and frustration and undeniable determination and make things happen.

I’m looking at you, and I’m looking at me, and I’m looking at you, Dodgers. We may not have won this round, but there’s always a new one on the horizon. Maybe it’s in April, maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s in a few years from now. We just have to keep working, keep trying, keep putting ourselves in the game, and one day, that trophy will be ours.

Three Things to Remember Before Voting This November

With only a few weeks until a very important election in November, our TV’s, neighborhood billboards and social media feeds have started to flood with ads and requests for our votes. I’ve even received a few text messages from various candidates and causes hoping they can count on my support come November 8th.

In light of this and all the talk surrounding the anticipated and encouraged outcomes, I think there a few crucial things to remember when you vote, either in person or by mail in ballot.

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1) There is more than one opinion

Social media, namely sites like Twitter, are hubs for conversations on controversial topics. And with algorithms tracking popular topics and their corresponding responses, people are quick to notice the opinions gaining the most favor—a.k.a favorites and retweets. Depending on who you might follow on Twitter (or other social media sites), your feed might become full of these retweets/reposts, so much so that it might seem as if it is the only available to have. It’s important to remember that this is not the case. Every issue has multiple sides and arguments that favor each, so do your research and pursue these sides. It’s the only way you can properly determine where you stand.

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2) You are allowed to hold any opinion you choose

In doing research on the sides of an argument, it’s important to realize that as much as supporters and opposers would like you to believe, there is not one right opinion. Opinions are based on personal values and circumstances, so what might seem clear cut for one person, might not make any sense to another. Figure out where your values align and base your opinions and ultimate votes on those discoveries. Outside opinions are great for research and understanding but they should not dictate your individual vote.

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3) Vote your own vote

I’ve seen a number of celebrities and famous personalities make a special effort to encourage people to vote this year, which is great. Voting is a privilege, one that is so often taken for granted, and as role models in our society, I think it’s so valuable for them to present voting not only as important, but exciting and cool. I myself have a number of people I look up to that constantly post encouragements to make my voice heard, and it stirs something inside me. But here’s the thing, we need to let their encouragements stop once we get to the poles. We cannot cast ballots based on who we think we should vote for and we should never vote to impress celebrities or to further their opinions. This goes back to #1: figure out your own values, and where you stand on issues, because that is the only way to make your vote count.

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The most important thing to remember this election season is to vote. Don’t make an excuse, don’t be lazy, and don’t throw away your chance to make your voice heard. Your vote matters, your opinion matters, and we are blessed to live in a country that allows both of those to be heard. So go out and be part of something bigger than you. It’s important. Plus, you get a sticker.

Some Suggestions for Netflix

You know that weird thing we all do? The thing where we sit down to watch a movie on Netflix and then spend 45 minutes scrolling and sighing and shaking our heads.

“No.”

“I’m not in the mood.”

“Maybe next time.” 

Then we look through the list of movies we’ve previously saved with the intention of making this scrolling process easier, only to hate every suggestion from our past selves, which in turn leads us to turn on a movie we’ve already seen far too many times.

Then, we wake up the next day wondering why we’re not more cultured and can’t keep up with conversations about all the great movies Netflix has to offer.

I have lived this life for a long time. It’s the reason why I have to set goals that require me to broaden my horizons. Otherwise I’d just watch The Fundamentals of Caring over and over and over again, all the while making the excuse that I would watch something else, even something I’ve seen before, if only Netflix added ______ to their catalog.

All that being said, I recently found out that you can submit suggestions to Netflix for what movies and TV shows they should add to their catalog.

Can you imagine?! Such power! At our fingertips!

You better believe I took advantage of it. Here were some of my suggestions:

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1) The Mary Kate & Ashley Movies

I see you, Netflix. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble. New York Minute. You’re not completely depriving me of Olsen twin goodness. But can we get some Billboard Dad up in here? Switching Goals, maybe? Or how about a few (or all, let’s be real) of the You’re Invited episodes? I haven’t been invited anywhere by the Olsen twins since VHS’s were in fashion and it’s depressing.

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2) Spice World

I’ve actually never seen Spice World, which I realize is a crime of sorts. And with the girls going back on tour next year, this movie could very well become a common topic of conversation again, and I’ll just be standing there, shrugging, with no idea how to contribute. Save me from the shrugging, Netflix! I want to fit in!

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3) Legends of the Hidden Temple

There has never been a game show that has infuriated me more than Legends of the Hidden Temple. It just never seemed like any of the kids on the show were trying. I mean, they were walking from obstacle to obstacle. WALKING. As if it wasn’t a COMPETITION. Actually, now that I think about it, it might be healthy for me not to rewatch this series…but I’m still suggesting it, just because I feel like it might be a good way to get out some aggression after a long day.

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4) Say Anything…

I looked it up, and apparently this was on Netflix and taken off in November of 2014, but I think it should come back. Sure, I’m a little biased because it’s my favorite movie of all time and includes one of the most iconic scenes—John Cusack holding a boombox over his head—in cinematic history and I want everyone to watch it so we can all sit around talking about it for hours, but this isn’t just for me. It’s for everyone.

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5) Rescue 911

This show went off the air when I was 6, but I still remember it vividly. Each episode showcased real life 911 calls. The corresponding situations were simulated to demonstrate when/why the calls were made and sometimes actual tape from the call was played to give you the full experience. I loved this show because it was essentially all about people helping people and in every episode the paramedics would come to the rescue. In another life, I might have taken my passion for this show and turned it into a career, but instead I’m just writing about it while I sit on the couch eating macaroni and cheese…

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I’m sure there are a lot more—too many more—that I’d also like to request, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. However, now that I know I have the power to request, I’ll make sure to start writing them down the minute I can’t find them and the disappointment sets in and I click play on The Fundamentals of Caring again. Consider me a soon-to-be frequent requester, Netflix. I look forward to our time together.

Throw Away Your Old Car Keys

I recently listened to Bryan Cranston’s memoir, Life in Parts, on audiobook. Not only does he have an incredible reading voice, but his stories are fun and fascinating and consistently engaging. I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy read (or listen).

One particular story that stuck out in my mind was that of the passing of his aunt Sunday and uncle Eddie, and the process of his family going through their belongings afterwards. He noted how they found a box marked “keys to the old cars”, which turned out to be exactly that: keys for cars they previously owned.

As someone who is very sentimental, I can understand the act of keeping things that hold a special place in your heart. But as Cranston went onto explain, this box was one of many. The couple were definitely hoarders, finding value in keeping absolutely everything. As someone who hates clutter, I can’t really relate to this notion.

Or at least I thought I couldn’t.

Cranston noted, “None of the keys fit the car in the garage or the abandoned vehicles parked on the dead grass in the backyard. So. They kept keys to cars they hadn’t owned in years.”

That’s when I thought to myself: isn’t that kind of like holding on to grudges/pain/anger/etc. from the past?

When I thought about it like that, I realized we all probably have a “keys to the old cars box.” We are all holding onto things that will never do us any good. We are all keeping keys that belong to cars we’ve long stopped driving.

For me personally, I know I tend to hold onto things because in a way it makes me feel safe. Tangible things, like pictures or ticket stubs or knick knacks, make me feel like I’m keeping good memories safe, preserving everything I loved about that day or days in a single object that I can always go back to. Going off of this, my mind likes to pretend that holding onto anger and sadness and pain has the same benefit. It promises that remembering these things, these moments that still sting, will help keep me safe in the future. They will keep me from getting hurt or from failing or from making a fool out of myself. They will help me trust the right people and love the right people and stay away from the wrong people.

While this is good, as it’s important to constantly learn and grow and mature, there comes a point when this “protection” becomes clutter. Learning from failures is different than holding onto them. And working through pain is different than pushing it aside. For Cranston’s aunt and uncle, they were always going to have the memories of those old cars, even after they left their driveway. So while those keys might have promised to further those memories, in reality they were just reminders of the past taking up space in the present. And the same goes for all that anger and pain and sadness that is bogging us down.

It’s never easy to let go, but it’s necessary. I know for me, it might take a while. It might even be a one key at a time process, but that’s okay. As the saying goes, “the first step is admitting you have a box of old car keys.” After that, it’s just making room for the good things.

Start with Sweeping the Floor

Lately I’ve been feeling a little disoriented. There are so many things on my mind that I’d like to get accomplished and so many steps forward that I’m feeling motivated to take, that my brain has become somewhat of a chaotic mess, wondering where to even start.

Amongst this chaos, even going so far as to walk hand in hand with it most of the time, is exhaustion and frustration. I’ll get home from work with a laundry list of to-dos and my mind spirals, convinced it can’t do any of it, so I’ll end up stressing the hours away until I fall into bed, incredibly disappointed that I didn’t get anything done.

“I didn’t even sweep the floor,” I’ll think.

For among all the big goals I have, there are also little chores around the house that I want to get done. I want to clean my bathroom and do my laundry. I want to organize my desk and change the batteries in my clock. I want to sweep the floor. Having these chores done puts my mind at ease and makes room for other problems to be solved. 

Yesterday, while feeling a particularly cloudy shade of bleh, I got home from work wanting to go for a run, but didn’t feel like I had it in me.

Then you should probably sit down and write, I thought.

Or finish that project siting on your desk.

Or run through the to-do list you have written in your notebook.

Or research future blog posts

Or!

Or!

Or!

 Instead, I took a nap. My head was pounding and with a busy few weeks ahead, it felt like the healthiest thing to do.

When I woke up, I didn’t feel like writing, or working on unfinished projects, or going through to-do lists. But after eating dinner I did have a burst of inspiration to sweep the floor. Which then led to me cleaning my bathroom, doing some laundry and organizing my desk.

I ended up having a very productive evening. And even though I might not have gotten to all (or most) of the things on my to-do list, I got to some, which sometimes is all you can ask for from yourself.

When given the chance, our minds will choose a path to weed through the chaos, and when they do, the best thing to do is follow it. Trying to swim against the current and force yourself to work on projects that your brain isn’t ready for will often result in more days filled with stilted productivity. So go with the flow, and take things one at a time. Get done what you can get done and don’t beat yourself up with timelines and expectations.

At the end of the day, the hardest thing to do is move forward, and sometimes taking the smallest steps to prove yourself wrong will make all the difference. Those steps will get you moving, giving you the momentum you need to take the big ones. Plus, at the end of a long day, when your mind starts to swirl its way into an insomniac stress ball, you can quiet it.

At least I swept the floor.

Stay at the Table, the Chips Will Come

While accepting the first award of the night this past Monday—and the first Primetime Emmy of his career—Henry Winkler quoted something he was once told by a friend in Hollywood:

“If you sit at the table long enough, the chips will come to you.”

I’ve never been much of a poker player myself, but I still liked this phrase. It’s both simple and complicated.

On the one hand, it’s saying that all you have to do is stay in the game and patience will pay off. But on the other hand, anyone who’s played or watched poker before knows that “staying in the game” isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes luck and risk, sometimes the blind and irresponsible kind, to save your spot at that table, and not every game guarantees the luck will eventually turn your way.

Sometimes it takes game after game, risk after risk, trip after trip to that table before those chips start to come your way. And even then, you’re always at the risk of losing what you won, right after you won it.

Looking up at the teleprompter, Henry Winkler said in regards to his speech, “I only have 37 seconds, but I wrote this 43 years ago.”

That’s a lot of games. A lot of lost hands. A lot of waiting and losing. A lot of unrewarded risk. And yet…

“If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you,” he said, “and tonight I got to clear the table.

Risk, patience, and perseverance will pay off.

Sometimes it might not be in the way you think/hope it will, and sometimes it will take way longer than you might like. But don’t let that scare or discourage you.

Stay at the table. Keep playing the game. Because those chips are most certainly coming your way.

Also, it should be noted that my very first thought after hearing Henry Winkler share this anecdote was of a kitchen table and tortilla chips…

I think the phrase works either way though, if you think about it.

Why My Roommate Should be the Next Host of Jeopardy

Greetings people of the Internet, I’m here to discuss something incredibly important.

It has recently been brought to my attention that Alex Trebek is on his (be it, long and slow) way out from the Jeopardy hosting position. Word on the street is that he will abdicate his all knowing thrown in the year 2020. And while I’m sure there are ideas in circulation and contracts in negotiation, none could possibly measure up to this forthcoming submission: my roommate, Rachel.

How? You might ask. How could I possibly know she could cut it, especially in comparison to other candidates, the caliber of which I am yet to know?

To put it simply, and to emulate the words of so many bended knee proposal speeches, regretful gut feelings, and completed newlywed house hunts, sometimes you just know. And in this case, I just know.

Having watched hours of Jeopardy with Rachel by my side, I can first and foremost verify her genuine interest in the show. She enjoys the creatively phrased questions and would undoubtedly deliver them in that familiar, engaged and excited, while completely controlled manner.

She would challenge the contestants, willing them to dig deep into their studies as she delivered riddles and word problems with a confidence that dared them to answer no matter the cost.

On a Daily Double, when the competition teetered between nail biting and cake taking, she’d encourage risk. Listing the facts of the contestant’s fate, while simultaneously (and inconspicuously) teasing them to tempt it.

Are you worried about the key pronunciation of a book, movie, television show or other pop culture reference? Well, worry no more. Rachel is well versed in many genres, giving her a solid foundation of valuable knowledge, the likes of which she could utilize both as quizmaster and friendly interviewer.

Rachel is witty, clever and unique, sure to make contestants and audiences alike laugh, think, and double-take, all while creating an encouraging and welcoming environment capable of fostering healthy and compelling competition.

Not to mention, she’s got an incredible sense of style. The kind that would inspire conversations not only regarding her presence and professionalism, but her cute ass shoes as well. She would become a strong and powerful female figure in the media—that can rock a warm pallet like no other; a go-to, “I love it!” Halloween costume; an obvious choice for an elementary worksheet “who do you want to be when you grow up” fill in.

So, ABC, while I imagine the search for this replacement (understandably) seems like an impossible task, I hope you’ll now realize that it’s not. Because when it comes down to it, there’s only one right choice, and she’s currently sitting next to me eating pulled pork.

It’s Not Time to Worry Yet

If you’re anything like me, you’re a worrier. And not just your average worrier.

A professional worrier.

But who could blame us?

There’s the past, the present, the future, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of variations of those three that feature the what if’s, the could be’s and the should have been’s.

Plus, our problems aren’t the only ones to worry about. There are our family’s problems, our friends’ problems, the problems of the person we happen to come into contact with at the grocery store, and the problems of fictional characters that make us wonder if we can relate…which spiral into a set of entirely new problems.

Worrying is great.

I mean, not really, but it disguises itself as a hobby sometimes.

And while I imagine people like us will constantly find ourselves worrying (and worrying about worrying) it’s important to remember that it’s not always necessary.

(I know, easier said than done, but hear me out.)

I recently read To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus Finch, one of the main characters, had a signature phrase that really resonated with me. He repeated this phrase multiple times throughout the book, often to calm the worries of his children, Jem and Scout.

“It’s not time to worry yet,” he would say, and even though it wasn’t an answer, it was enough. Because as much as worrying likes to pretend it offers you a path to a solution, oftentimes it does little more than guide you towards further destruction.

Worrying adds to chaos, it doesn’t end it. It doesn’t give us control, it steals it. And as easy and fun (?) as it is to worry, it’s important to remember that it really doesn’t help.

So the next time you find yourself consumed by panic, remind yourself, it’s not time to worry yet.

When it comes to the what if’s, it’s not time to worry yet.

When it comes to the could be’s, it’s not time to worry yet.

And when it comes to the should have been’s, there’s no point in worrying now.

10 Things I Love About Football Season

A very well-known fact about my family is that we love sports. (See here and here and here) Not only do we have shirts, jerseys and hats of our favorite teams—and that’s just for our dogs—we are constantly watching or attending or talking about any game we can get our eyes and/or ears on.

For the last few months, our attention has mostly been on baseball, as our team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have been inducing casual bouts of extreme anxiety in our lives as they try to secure a spot in the playoffs. Yesterday, however, football made its grand return to television, and we are HERE. FOR. IT.

So, in honor of the NFL being BOT (you know, “back on television”) I decided to list some of my favorite parts about football season. It’s truly a wild ride, and I’ve already buckled my seat belt.

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1) Lazy Sundays

Aside from one on Thursday and two on Monday, every other football game is played on Sundays. This means that each week, starting at 10:00 a.m., football is on all day on multiple channels. So basically, once football season starts, every Sunday is pretty much booked. And by booked, I mean full of sweatpants and couches and “accidental” naps during the 1:00 p.m. game—unless of course the New York Giants (our favorite team) are playing at that time, in which case naps come into play right before the 5:00 p.m. game.

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2) Carrie Underwood

I don’t care what anyone says about Carrie Underwood’s Sunday Night Football theme song. I also don’t care that it’s slightly cringy and corny and fully of over the top graphics and multimillion dollar athletes walking around in slow motion. The song is just plain catchy, and it’s the perfect way to both solidify the delirium you’ve slipped into over the last seven hours of football, and give you the fuel you need to finish off the last three. Plus, Carrie’s legs will forever be #goals.

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3) The Introductions

After Carrie sings her heart out and more than a few superstars have waved at green screened crowds of screaming fans, the camera cuts to the field, where we see two teams warming up, talking, and often walking around in beanies and jackets that are comically large, both to account for all of the padding the football players have on, and to keep them from turning into popsicles when it’s -2 degrees with wind chill in Green Bay. Then, after the kickoff, we are introduced to these men one by one, in a series of five second video packages that pop up in the corner of the screen. Each player is little more than a floating head with statistics and fun facts surrounding them, and they smile or grimace or look totally and completely lost as they say their name and the college they attended. Oftentimes I’ll quiet the entire living room to ensure I can hear them.

greg-hardy

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4) 4th and Inches

This is arguably my favorite part of football all together, as it’s both exciting, nerve wracking, and hilarious. If you’re not a football fan, this phrase is used to describe a point in the game when a team is essentially given their final chance to move the ball over a designated line, and they are so close to it that it can no longer be noted in yards and must instead be measured in INCHES. Whenever this pops up on the screen, I make sure to announce it so that everyone watching the game can fully grasp the INTENSITY. Then we watch the men slam into each other and sometimes the ball crosses the line and other times things get thrown at the TV.

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5) Nervous Whispering

Speaking of things being thrown at the TV. My mom and I spend a good amount of football season huddled next to each other on the couch, whispering back and forth (often about dinner, or a movie we recently watched or which player has longer, skinnier, legs than us) as my dad and sister scream angrily at the television. The two of them are far more die hard than us, and have often been known to hurl a variety of expletives at the television and, especially after a loss, sit quiet and frustrated for long periods of time after the game.

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6) Trying to Understand Encroachment

Even though I love football and football season as a whole, I would never consider myself an expert by any means. There are still rules I don’t quite understand and many instances when I have to ask my dad and sister questions about what is going on. For example: encroachment. It’s defined as “a penalty in which a defensive player is positioned in the neutral zone at the start of a play.” Which, you know, sure. That makes sense, I guess. But when it comes to watching the game and actually being able to notice when that happens—yeah, no. So, most of the time when I see a penalty called and it’s not one I can otherwise identify, I just yell out “encroachment!” figuring I’ll occasionally be right. As of now, I think my right to wrong ratio is about 2/40, but hey, that’s better than nothing.

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7) Talking to the Coaches

While I’m not one to usually yell at the television during football season—I reserve most of my lung capacity for baseball and hockey—I still do my share of talking. For example, when a coach throws down a challenge flag that I think was a bad idea, I’ll make sure to the let them know—from my couch—informing them that the ball was in fact secured or the player did in fact keep both feet in bounds. I just want to let them know that, according to me, they’re making a terrible decision.  I’m a helper like that.

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8) Talking to the Players

I also like to talk to the players. Mostly it’s in a positive manner, saying things like, “nice one” or “good for you” or “great try.” But I also throw in the occasional “get up, you’re fine” or “stop complaining” or “does he have any idea what he’s doing?!” These comments are often given in between bites of ordered in Mexican food, which I definitely think adds to their credibility.

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9) The Rivalries

If you watch enough football to claim a team as your favorite, it is your civic duty to also claim their rivals. As a Giants fan, our main rivals are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. We also aren’t fans of the Redskins and have a thing with the Patriots (and by thing, I mean continually beating them in the Super Bowl) and then Chargers fans also don’t really dig us because of drama with our quarterback, Eli Manning, way back when. But you get the point. Since we’ve dubbed the Giants our favorite team, we are physiologically inclined to roll our eyes, stick our tongues out, enlist figurative hexes upon, and just plain dislike teams that are considered our rivals, as well as hold grudges against their fans, even if we’ve never met them, or have no real reason to dislike them otherwise. To be fair though, we expect them to give us as much disdain in return…at least until the season is over.

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10) The Anticipation

Like any other sport, football is chock-full of moments of anticipation and anxiety. There’s the Hail Mary passes that you watch fly through the air, wondering, hoping that they will find the right hands on the other end of the field. There’s the field goal formation taken on a zero-ed out clock, putting all the pressure on the kicker to win the game. There’s the floundering quarterback with eyes darting around the field for an open man as opposing defensemen charge wildly looking for a sack. There are the onside kicks with less than a minute to go, the deflected passes that threaten a turnover, the fumbles that turn into a dog piles, and the running plays that make you jump up and down in hopes that it can make your man move faster. To put it plainly, football is exciting and terrifying and heartbreaking. It’s also stressful and infuriating and for some, seemingly life shortening. But at the end of the day, football is just, well, football, and I’m happy it’s back!

Go Giants!