Recently, my mother sent me a box of random things from my childhood that I had left in the attic. Amongst the many memories was a story I had written about my father my junior year in high school. From the corrections written in red, I’m not she my teacher understood it. He wanted me to write it in the past tense for some reason. I think it works better in the present, even though it’s set in 1988.
It’s important to note that I had yet to be fully converted as a die-hard Giants fan, by that time. I think I really just didn’t feel I had the time to watch football. I had better things to do with three hours, like read comic books. Oh, how naïve I was. I do not agree with some of my sentiments in this piece any more. Some have become sacrilege for me, as I’m sure they were to my father at the time. But, most important is the portrait I provide of my father as a Giants fan. Enjoy.
November 7, 1988
I lumber down the stairs late in the morning, wondering why my father woke me earlier and asked if I wanted a big breakfast. I hear a fire roaring in the woodstove and cheers blasting from the TV. I turn the corner to see my father standing no more than a foot away from the television set with the remote in one hand and a soda in a Giants glass in the other. I slap my hand against my forehead thinking to myself, “Oh no, not another Giants game!”
My father is an incurable New York Football Giants fan. Seeing him watch the football game explains many things. Whenever my father watches a Giants game he always has a big breakfast in the morning and a fire going full force for the game. It’s part of the total atmosphere he creates to remind himself of a crisp fall day.
I try to escape the room as quickly and as quietly as possible, but before I get the chance my father turns to me. The look on his face is like that of a small child who sees Disney World for the first time. He quickly grabs me and places me on the couch where the cat is trying to get some sleep. She isn’t faring too well because of all the shouting my father is doing about the Giants. He offers me ice cream, Bryers’, with peanuts; but I refuse.
Even as the game starts he is pacing back and forth and rubbing his hands together. Soon, a trench is worn into our floor from the TV to the couch, and the room fills with smoke from the constant rubbing of his hands. He tries to draw me into the game by asking stupid questions and making comments. Throughout the game he continues to pace and rub his hands, keeping that smoky tavern atmosphere and destroying the carpet at the same time.
He begins to add other movements, like rocking, patting his head, and getting up and down from his seat every three seconds or so. At one point in the game, the Giants fall behind, and my father starts swearing; he starts cursing at everyone, the players, the coaches, the refs, even the announcers. After a while, he calms down and starts making excuses as to why the Giants aren’t playing well, listing everybody on the team who is on injured reserve or out for drug rehab. He even damns those players who held out for more pay during training camp.
The Giants take the lead again, and the game nears an end. Even though the Giants are in the lead, this is my father’s tensest moment. He grips the chair tightly, and I shake my head, knowing what my mom will think of new upholstery for the chair just for a stupid football game. Now, my father starts talking to the players. “OK, L.T. Come on, Carl. You can hold them! Let’s go, Phil, just hang onto the ball!”
I breathe a sigh of relief as the game ends. “Phew! It’s over.” My father jumps for joy and hugs and shakes me. His team has won another major victory, sort of. I walk away with my head hung in shame for having been suckered into watching the Giants win Super Bowl XXI for the seventh time. My father still stands in front of the TV, proud of his Giants team from two years ago. Too bad they’ll never be able to do that again, huh Dad?