Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Sportscaster's Guide to Watching Football: Book Review

Do you remember that old Rock Hudson movie, Man's Favorite Sport? Rock plays an author who is an authority on the sport of fishing. The problem is that his character doesn't know how to fish.

Now it's my turn. I don't understand football even though my friends think I do.

In high school it was assumed that we all knew how to play. I remember running around the field in P.E. without having a clue what I was doing or who to tackle. Yes, I found myself on the ground a lot looking up at the sky. This was the pre-Internet 1970's when there was no Google to help or lifeline to call.

Now many years later, and with gray hair that just happened over time, I've decided to correct this deficiency. My goal this fall is to (a) understand the game of football and (b) develop a vocabulary to engage in meaningful dialogue when I find myself watching the sport with friends. This will replace the smile and nod of head.

Author Mark Oristano to my rescue. His (autographed) book, A Sportscaster's Guide to Watching Football, arrived last night and I read it immediately. Right from the start it felt approachable at only 146 pages. This is the book for the novice wanting to understand the game.

Oristano is passionate about football and tackles the topic with an entertaining narrative. He scored a touchdown in my opinion. (See, the vocabulary is already working).

Sprinkled throughout the book are "Cool Things To Say During a Game." And the Ultimate cool thing that ends the book (no spoiler alert!). Here's one example. When someone is frustrated by an incomplete pass I can smile knowingly and say, "I'll have to wait for the films." I love it.

There are also 12 "Time Outs" with interesting side notes. My favorite is the first one about Mike Ditka. He went up to the Ref when a penalty was called against the Cowboys, and calmly asked if the guy was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After the man said, "No," Ditka replied, "Good" and then screamed,"because that was the worst g--d---- call I've seen in my entire %#*#  football career!"

This fall when football season comes around, I'm going to be ready.

A Sportscaster's Guide to Watching Football by Mark Oristano. Copyright 2009. Synergy Books. ISBN 978-0-9821601-1-4.


  1. I actually sat here chuckling as I read your review. I don't watch football, though I do enjoy a good rugby game every so often (as long as the New Zealand All Blacks are playing). I don't understand the rules but that doesn't really bother me, I just listen to the commentators and they usually clue me in.

  2. I commented last night and couldnt get thru! Nice to see you back. I know nothing about football so wont comment on that!

  3. I wish I could enjoy football but I just can't get into it. I do support our local team tho...Go Chargers!

    PS - I do remember that Rock Hudson movie!

  4. Sounds like I need this and one on baseball.

  5. The biggest problem with football is that half of the planet imagines what the book is about and the other half thinks of soccer.


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