The National Football League is thinking about taking an idea that
originated in my childhood and using it to improve games. The explanation
The internet and quarantine have given all of us ample opportunity
to re-connect with various people. Some of these people are Bonnie, Jinger
The last time I saw Bonnie, Jinger and Sharon could have been at our
30 year high school reunion, which was about 35 years ago. So you’ll understand
if my memory is a bit shaky.
So a few days ago an issue from our childhood came up after we figured
out how to re-connect, no easy task for the male in our group.
Someone wanted to know if we remembered “boy-girl” parties
that were held in the basement of someone’s home.
I don’t remember exactly the party the girls (now grandparents)
were talking about, but I remember what the parties were like, more or less. We were
driven there by our fathers, dropped off and told to be ready to leave in a couple of
Sometimes the fathers drove both a boy and girl to the party in the same car, but
we sat on opposite sides of the back seat. (This, by the way, is where
Once we got to the party, the girls would stay on one side of the
basement talking, presumably about the boys and how cute they were.
The boys, on the other side of the basement, would congregate and talk
about baseball cards.
Our conversations were way more interesting because a debate over
whether Willie Mays was a better player than Mickey Mantle could erupt at
any time, far surpassing the level of discussion on the other side of the basement
about whether Stuie was cuter than me.
The drama, what little there was, came when the discussions ebbed,
the slow music started and a boy slowly, tentatively approached a girl and asked
if she wanted to dance.
I pause here to relate an incident that has remained indelibly etched in
my mind. There was another time when we were standing around when Marv
approached a girl and asked, “Would you like to dance?” She gave him the
once over and replied, “With who?”
You can see why you would never forget something like that, which
also led to a hesitancy to interact with women that lasted well into my 40s.
Back to the slow dancing music. Eventually the boys and girls put
aside their childlike discussions, paired off and, if you were lucky, you could
rub against your partner. That’s from a boy’s perspective. I don’t know what
the girls were thinking, but none of them, if I correctly recall, ran screaming
from the basement yelling about over-rubbing.
Which brings us to the National Football League. The NFL is thinking
of using a “sky judge,” someone who sits high above the action and could
overturn any obvious erroneous calls downstairs.
We had a “sky judge” in those days. The judge was called “mother.”
She would come down the stairs from far above and say something
like, “You kids having a good time?” It turns out she wasn’t interested
in us having a good time. That was the last thing she wanted. If you
were having too good a time in the rubbing situation, she would call
your name and ask if you wanted some crackers. Mothers knew
how to kill a good mood, much like an NFL referee killing a good
play because of a penalty.
As the evenings grew later, mothers on the cracker patrol would
return with greater frequency. When the crackers ran out, it was time
to leave, as the fathers would be at the front door to put an end to the
I don’t know who’s going to be the first NFL “sky judge.”
But it wouldn’t surprise me if they came with a bowl full of crackers.