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Football. So Wrong. So Gritty. So Great.

I’m seeing a woman who has a phobia of fajitas, doesn’t follow football or listen much to music.
Not sure our connection. Most days, she doesn’t even order wine with breakfast.
Obviously, passion makes madmen of us all. Just ask Shakespeare. You think Romeo was of sound mind? Or Lady Macbeth? The woman had a jewelry jar of loose screws. Didn’t she lure her husband to kill King Duncan? (Honestly, it’s been so long.)
Anyway, football is almost over and I am brokenhearted over this annual curtain call. Sure, the Super Bowl is approaching, yet it can’t substitute for the rich autumn weeks when there were dozens of games, and we rallied around our TVs the way we used to rally around Walter Cronkite delivering the network news.
Football is over. Time to catch up on the chores. February has no sheen, no allure. What a buzz kill, this month. … What a debilitating funk.
When rotten change feels like it’s sweeping the world, when eggs are $12 a dozen, or mass migration stands to re-map society from here to the Balkans, when I can’t get a decent piece of veal at a fair market price, there was always football on which to warm our hands and hearts.
Football. So American. So wrong. So gritty. So great.
On the plus side: There are clear outcomes. First you get the ball, then they get the ball. Let’s go! Even the Supreme Court can’t mess that up.
There are no 45-minute innings and endless pitching changes. Unlike in the NBA, they play with intensity and fire.
Seen an NBA game lately? Every player scores 50 points. I’m pretty sure I could play point guard for the Pistons right now. Long as I don’t have to run too much, or scramble after loose balls.
By the way, the Lakers are averaging $7 million per win (payroll divided by victories). Your local JV team shows more heart.
Now obviously, I have a completely synthetic imagination. My mind is my woodshop. My soul is made of Pyrex. I’m always a million dollars short of financial security.
I need to get out of my head sometimes, let it rest and cool, as you would a nice roast.
I mean, couldn’t you just eat the whole thing, as it sits there cooling on the counter, with its crunchy top of cracked pepper and bits of garlic?
That’s the way I feel about football. I want to eat the whole thing. Yum.
On the negative side: Football can be hugely damaging. Well, so is building a highway or a house.
When the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin went down a few weeks ago, tragically died on the field, then ended up OK, thanks very much, there were all these doomsday predictions about the incident marking the end of the sport.
My alma mater, the occasionally still-glorious L.A. Times, ran a piece on the editorial page claiming, “Football’s future has never looked more imperiled.”
OK, what have you been smoking down there by the airport? Honestly, intellectual audacity is fine, but now you just seem a little stoned.
Look, no one worries much about miners grinding their lives away in some cavern, or the roofers without any reasonable retirement options, these brutal life servitudes that probably make a career as an NFL running back seem very nice indeed.
Each year, football provides more rags-to-riches stories, creates more wealth, more millionaires, lifts more families out of poverty, than any other American sport.
Yeah, some day, I suppose, the moon won’t rise, the oceans will dry up, “The Simpsons” will end and Tom Cruise will let his hair go. But that day isn’t soon.
Football may well outlast America. In fact, it seems protected by some special constitutional amendment that honors valor, hard work, courage and skill.
I mean, what would Troy Aikman do for work?
In a world that demands so little and coddles so much, we have football. We have clear outcomes. We have war heroes. We have something everyone can rally around, with wings and jalapeño poppers and that fiery chili Uncle Gus always brings. Does he sprinkle gunpowder in there or what?
By the way, I don’t know exactly why Suzanne is afraid of fajitas. Perhaps it’s the sizzle-smoke, that oily smog that is fajitas’ finest trait. It just speaks to me. Like Paul Newman’s blue eyes. Or Wynona Ryder’s half smile.
Or, the way a running back hurdles a linebacker, Baryshnikovs him at the very last second, in perhaps the most glorious athletic move since Jackie Robinson used to steal home.
Bless their warrior hearts. Bless this brutal marvelous sport. If you don’t like it, fine. Go have a blast in your garden.
Happy Super Bowl.

Email the columnist at Letters@ChrisErsklineLA.com. For books or past columns, please go to ChrisErskineLA.com.

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