A confession that may perpetuate my singlehood: I don't like sports. More specifically, I don't get sports. I was born without the gene that allows one to follow the movement of a ball through space and time by the force of human will and strength. I like the idea of sports and I like the conviviality that watching sports cultivates. I love foods associated with watching sports both in homes and in bars: nearly every year for the last decade I throw a Superbowl party and serve food based on the competing cities' cuisines. And since I do love commercials, the entirety of sports programming is not lost on me. But short of understanding the significance of when an orange ball flies through the air into a mesh hoop, or when a baseball lands in a mitt without hitting the ground, I am lost. And although football eludes me most, I have been faithfully watching Monday Night Football for the last 2 years, thanks to Laura Ohm.
Laura is probably the best cook that I personally know. She's a baker by trade, and a master of French, Italian, and Chinese cuisines as well as the gamut of everything that can be canned or otherwise put-up. But in my opinion her real gift is in the purest interpretations of American regional cuisines. And there is no better showcase for her talents than during the months of September through December, when every host city of a Monday Night Football game, whether friend or foe, is honored with a glorious supper. Last week, the Bears were at Minneapolis, though the menu of Polish Ring Sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes:
There are probably 12 MNF suppers per season, and I try to make it to most. But here's the thing: after 38 years of life, after hosting at least a half dozen superbowls and after 2 years of spending nearly every Monday night in autumn at Laura and Fred's for MNF, I still have no idea how the hell you watch a football game. None. I sit there: I watch. I watch them move and stop and go back and move again in slow motion. I watch them huddle, watch lines and scratches come and go from the screen, watch coaches cover their mouths with playbooks as they talk into their headsets. I have tried to absorb the fundamentals of the game through osmosis, but it's useless. So perhaps my honorary seat in Laura and Fred's livingroom should go to someone who is football literate, but I won't abdicate without a fight. And there's always the possibility I will learn to love the game. I am a goddam American, after all.