As summer turned to fall, Gene and I looked forward to watching NFL Football games.  We try to do all of our errands and projects so that Sunday afternoons and evening are free to watch the teams we follow.  The grandkids seem confused by why they can’t come over to play on Sundays during football season.  They are used to having our undivided attention. 

A couple of weeks ago, Tavi (6) decided that she wanted to come over and see what this football thing was all about.  Papa prepped her and told her that games were three hours long, and that we couldn’t take her home if she got bored.  She arrived with lots of questions and asked if we got to eat popcorn while watching.  “Sure,” I said as I turned on the pregame show.  Apparently, she meant that she wanted to eat popcorn right away.  After pouring her a bowl of popcorn and getting her settled, she informed me that she knew there was an offense and a defense, but that was all she knew about football.

I told Tavi that her Great Grandma Mona was the one who taught me about football, and that there were a lot of rules, and she could ask questions during the game.  About that time, the commentators were taking turns predicting who would win the game between the Bengals and the Steelers.  Tavi really liked this part.  She asked Gene, “Who do you pick Grandpa?”  He replied that he would probably choose the Bengals.  “Who do you pick Grandma?”  I also chose the Bengals.  Tavi said she was picking the “Bagels” too, because she liked their uniforms better, and that “stealing was bad” and she didn’t think that was a good name for the other team.

The next three hours were filled with so many questions and adorable observations.  Tavi liked it when the players helped each other up after they “fell down.” She kept saying “That was nice, wasn’t it?”  As yellow flags flew, she wanted to know what a “penalty” was.  I explained to her that a penalty was like when she did something bad and Papa said, “no TV for two days,” that that was a penalty.  So every time an official threw a flag, she asked what the player did wrong and what their penalty was.

At one point, Tavi asked if there were any girls playing on the teams. I told her “not yet.” (Don’t send me hate mail on this as we are dealing with a six-year-old and trying to keep it simple!)  When she asked why, I told her that I wouldn’t want to play because I would be afraid that I would get squished by some of the big boys.  Tavi said she wouldn’t be afraid because she would just run between their legs. “Good plan,” I tell her.  Gene explains that there are girls refereeing the games and someday, there might be girls playing professional football.

At halftime, I explained that it was time for a potty break for players and fans.  She was certain that the players got granola bars on their break.  That seemed reasonable to me.  During halftime, the updates from other games were played.  Tavi saw the update on the Jaguar’s game and asked if we could watch it too.  I explained that we don’t get that game on our TV.  She said that wasn’t fair.  When asked why she wanted to watch the Jaguars game, she said, “Because I like their uniforms, and I like Jaguars, AND he has pretty hair!”  She was referring to the quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. 

At one point in our game, the quarterback threw aninterception, and I said, “Oh no!”  She asked what happened.  I told her that the quarterback threw the ball to the boy in the black pants, but the boy in the white pants caught the ball, so the white pants team got to keep the ball.  Tavi said, “So the Bagels don’t get the rest of their four tries?”  “Exactly,” I say.

She was upset when a couple of “Bagel players” were injured.Two weeks later, I’m still looking up the injury reports and giving her updates.  When we took her home, she told Papa that our team lost, but that it is hard to win when two of your players got hurt.

We were thoroughly entertained by Tavi’s questions, and she has watched other games with us.  She likes wearing the appropriate colors and laughing at the fans that dress up for the games.  We didn’t even give her a hard time when she rooted for the “Bagels” over the Vikings on Saturday.  She did ask why Sunday football was on Saturday and I said, “No one knows.” Congratulations Cincinnati Bengals, you have a new fan!