Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2003 / 28 Tishrei, 5764

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

NFL fan learns to handle heightened sensations | March: The husband doesn't ask a lot, so when he asks what I think about cheap seat NFL Colts tickets this year, I say sure. The husband thinks it will be fun to go to games together.

August: The husband thinks the first pre-season game would be a good time for me to get initiated. We find our section, our row and our seats. You get a lot when you buy cheap seats, a lot in the way of altitude. Our seats are in the ninth row. From the top.

The husband says something about me reminds him of Astroturf. I am green around the gills, panicked about the height and being within arms reach of the underside of a football dome. From where I sit, major sections of the dome cover clearly could use a good steam pressing.

"I'll be fine as long as nobody gets crazy and starts clapping or yelling and jumping up and down," I say. By the end of the fourth quarter, I am able to uncover my eyes, and mouth the words, "Go team."

Second pre-season game: I'm a veteran now; surely things will go better. Five minutes after we have taken our seats, the back of our bench bows out behind us. "Earthquake!" I scream, gripping the arm of a 12-year-old boy next to me. My husband peels me off the kid and says it was only a extra large fan in our row leaning backward.

I resume hyperventilating. For the first time in 25 years of marriage the husband asks a question he has never before asked, "Would you like to talk about what you're feeling?"

The announcer bellows that there will be a drawing for a free airline trip. The winner will be a ticket holder in the upper deck. They draw a ticket from up here because we are so high, they can just open up a hole in the dome and the winner can grab on to a rope dangling from the belly of the plane.

Things are improving. By the end of the third quarter, I am relaxed enough to raise both hands to shoulder-level when it is our turn to do the wave.

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September: Season opener. I spend the first two quarters concentrating on breathing in and out.

A vendor appears selling beer. "Are you crazy?" I yell. " Look at the size of these guys in this section! It's like 200 Jareds BEFORE the Subway diet. You want to add more weight and watch this place, collapse? Keep moving, buddy!"

During the third quarter, I have a breakthrough. I find the courage to look down at the helmeted ants crawling on the field instead of staring at the big screen directly across the stadium.

By game's end I hear sporadic clapping and feeble shouts of, "Go dog, go!" I think the noise is coming from me.

October: The panic phase where my heart races and I'm certain I will be crushed by the crowd only lasts 15 minutes. Fans around me are screaming, "Hey ref, go kiss a goat!" and "Take it to the outhouse!" I am able to smile and nod like I appreciate their insights.

I don't have a clue what they mean, which is why I turn to the husband and say, "I think it would be a good idea to attack deep today. You know, quick routes, behind the linebackers while including the running backs and the tight ends in the passing game."

The husband's jaw drops and he lapses into shock. I shake him and tell him the No. 1 thing I have learned from attending football games: "Breathe deep, you'll be just fine."

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman