There is nothing I enjoy more than planting myself down in front of my 60 inch television screen and watching a good NFL game. My family knows not to call me…I will not answer. Grandkids know better than to beg to spend the night when the Colts are playing. I will be wearing my Luck jersey, my horseshoe socks, and will even turn my cell phone to ‘silent’. I am serious about my NFL games, to the point that I even study all of the rules, policies, draft choices, standings, and team lore.
And if you really know me very well, you know that the very first paragraph is a total lie.
I don’t watch television as I don’t have one any longer. I am not a fan of sports–unless it is a grandkid playing. I cannot tell you anything about professional football except one penalty call. I learned it existed, oh about five years ago. And if you want to look it up, it is in the NFL Rules and Policies, and is Rule 12, Section 3 under ‘Unsportsmanlike Conduct’, Article 1: “Prolonged or Excessive Celebration.” Now….this is my kind of call!!
Let me get this right. Players are encouraged to score, but prohibited to celebrate it. What’s that about? The exact wording is:
“Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebration or
demonstration while on the ground. A celebration or
demonstration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if
a player continues to such after a warning from an official.
This includes two or more players engaged in excessive
celebration–premeditated or choreographed. Players cannot
use extraneous objects or the ball as a prop or unnecessary
physical contact with a game official.”
Well, somebody has their referee tighty-whities in a wad. I mean, do you really think bulky football players are going to run out in their tap shoes, grab a white cane, whip out a quickstep of “Puttin on the Ritz,” grab the official’s hand and say, “Join me?” when they land a pig skin in the end zone? And so what if they do? I know…it is using up precious and expensive television time. But I think this is just what life needs: excessive celebrations and demonstrations.
Since I am built like a dwarf from Snow White, I am in no position to pull on pads and a helmet and rush into the action. The field does not need another yard ornament. But they do need me. Really!! I am all about excessive. Like, saving stuff. Telling stories. Eating and sleeping. Buying books for the grandkids. So expecting me to waddle into the end zone and whip out some ‘WOO HOOS’ and audacious cheers and moves could really add some excitement to a rather bland event. How many folks fall asleep on the couch during a game. I rest my point. (No punt intended).
I am thinking of contacting the NFL to put ‘excessive celebration’ on the books—not as a penalty but as moment of pure joy and delight. I do joy! My favorite phrase that my little brain thought up is this: “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.” And I believe that the NFL is doing just that. I can think of no better honor than being called out for ‘excessive celebration’. In fact, I welcome it. Life is full of little victories and pausing a moment or two to hold them up to the light just makes us relish them more. And I believe, celebration is good for the soul as it enables us to treasure our blessings. And count them, one by one. With or without a scoreboard.
Next time you see that player running like crazy, protecting that football like it is a newborn, and breaking that invisible plane that denotes TOUCHDOWN, let’s just see if he is brave enough to tackle Rule 12. I am for that guy who dances, prays, struts, smiles, flips, and well, celebrates. He has earned it. And if the black and white shirts don’t like it, they can just turn their sorry and serious heads and walk away.
Life is short. Run into that end zone and celebrate all you want–with no penalties! And I will be in the stands, cheering you on.