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Watch football, learn handy things
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Well, here we are more than halfway through the 17-week NFL season and my husband’s quest to school me in the ways of the gridiron has not produced favorable results. I like to think of myself as an opportunist, though, so I’ll take the scraps of knowledge I have retained thanks to my football fanatic spouse’s three-hour tutorials and put them to good use. Hey, I may not know the difference between a running back and a quarterback, but I have learned enough to avoid embarrassing myself — or so I’d like to think.
The helpful tidbits of information I’ve picked up don’t really pertain to the game itself, and that’s fine because the wisdom I’ve taken away from my lessons is still very valuable in my opinion. I do not, however, expect many people will agree with that opinion.
So, if you find football as boring as I do, let me assure you, asking your pigskin-loving partner a few questions every now and then can still be beneficial. Just check out the handy facts and tips I’ve added to my repertoire: 
First, if you’re like me and you save the weekly grocery shopping trip for the weekend, I’ve found it’s incredibly convenient to head to the store when the UGA Bulldogs are playing a televised game. Shoppers who take advantage of this amazing window of opportunity will find they can park close to the building, the aisles are clear, no one is waiting in the check-out line and even the store employees are scarce. That’s fine — let them all huddle around a tiny radio and listen to the action. I prefer to read labels in peace without having to assure 10 different shelf-stockers that I am indeed finding everything OK.
My next nugget of knowledge isn’t helpful per se; it’s just one of those “who’d’ve thunk it” factoids.
The elderly gentleman who coaches Penn State’s football team is nicknamed JoePa. As it turns out, this is not a gibe at his age. JoePa is not a combination of the words Joe and grandpa, as I previously assumed. It’s just his first name, Joe, and the first syllable of his last name, Paterno. Interesting, right? Obviously you can see how I would make that mistake.
Finally, I learned that the end zone is a destination. OK, that’s kind of a no-brainer. But allow me to elaborate. One evening a few weeks ago, my husband, Noell, was flipping back and forth between a football game and a baseball game. Rain brought the baseball game to a halt and I watched as a few guys rolled a giant tarp over the infield. Noell changed the channel and began to watch the football game, which was also plagued by drizzly weather. However, no one seemed to care that the field was drenched. This puzzled me.
“How come they put a tarp over the baseball field to prevent it from getting wet, but no one tries to cover the football field?”
Noell patiently explained, “They only cover the infield when it rains at a baseball game because that’s where the players spend the majority of their time,” he said. “A football field is too big to cover and there’s no particular area where the players spend a lot of time.”
My husband’s answer was logical, but it didn’t satisfy my curiosity. “Well, if the whole field is too big, why don’t they just put the tarp over the end zones?”
“Because,” Noell said, “the end zone is a destination. Players don’t just hang out there. They’re rarely actually in the end zones.”
“Well,” I replied smugly, “maybe if those players were a little bit more talented, they would spend more time in the end zone, and then officials would need to protect it!”
Noell sighed. For a moment, I thought he’d offer a reply. Instead, he just nodded. It looks like my husband has also learned a thing or two during our football tutorials.

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