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How to Win at Sports

Work has been very consuming lately. I never completely stop thinking about it, managing instead to shove it down a few levels while I do other things for a while. I am fortunate to work at a job where I crazy love what I do, but I now have the sort of porous work boundaries that have me editing proofs from the pedicure chair. That is a lose-lose.

I did manage to shut it down completely on Football Kickoff Saturday. My husband had a friend over to watch the games, so he was taken care of. It is essential to get your husband a play date on game day, or he will keep making you look at the screen and expect a comment or some sign of engagement. My daughter was home from law school for the weekend, and she had three of her little girlfriends over who, in my mind, are about 14 years old but in reality are a fourth grade teacher, a CPA, and a graduate student. Rather than throwing out a spread, I went all Chris Hastings and kept bringing out delicious appetizers one at a time, and the girls (grown women) were happy to oblige me.

I made baby taco cups that tasted like a whole plate of nachos in every bite. These required intricate assembly, and my inner anal retentive was in heaven making them all the same size. Next I made Kalamata Bruschetta, followed by two kinds of wings, followed by pizza, followed by—I kid you not—warm chocolate chip cookies. (They were break and bake—I’m not a freak.) This kept me in the kitchen all day, and I marvel that it made me so happy. I suppose I should also note that I was simultaneously making pitchers of frozen margaritas, but nonetheless, it was a great day. I know for a fact that I do not enjoy watching football, but I simply adore being around people who do. Any occasion that involves people dressing alike and screaming is bound to be a good time. People who are that invested in staring at a screen are dependent on me for sustenance, and I get to be the Kool-Aid mom again, which was an era I adored.

There was a period in my life after morning drive radio and before cable television when I was self-employed voice and on-camera talent. There was a whole category of voiceover that was lucrative but required instant availability, and so when the phone rang, I got in the car and drove to the recording studio right that red-hot second. Sometimes I would be in the front yard with kids running through the sprinkler, but when a pile of automotive commercials needed tagging, I just threw everyone in the car in towels and dropped them off at another mom’s house, and off I went. Through the power of the ponytail and the right red lipstick, in 20 minutes I could step into a production house looking professional, with nobody the wiser that under my dress was a bathing suit.

That was a very carefree era of my work life. Whether I was on camera or just voicing commercials, when I was done I was done. Sometimes there wasn’t a convenient sitter, and I would end up taking my daughter with me to the recording studio. She was cute and well behaved as a child who had been threatened for the duration of the drive there, and she knew that there was a treat in store on the way home if she acted right. She typically knew the drill and behaved exquisitely. There was, however, one time when I was in the booth reading some pleasant Toyota radio spot when through the glass behind the audio engineer, I saw my girl zipping down the hallway in a rolling chair. Unable to catch her eye with my patented mommy’s “stop or you die” look, I just kept voicing copy. Seconds later, she came zipping back the other direction twice as fast and backward. If I recall, I showed up solo for a while after that booking.

My best friends lived close by and had little girls of their own, and we were in each other’s houses constantly. Those years floated by on a sea of chardonnay and kid food, my fingers always busy with a tiny French braid or a hair wrap, complete with dangling charms at the end. There was kitchen Karaoke, phones ringing, Disney tattoos, and lots of changing of clothes. Life today is wicked marvelous in so many other ways, but I will never forget that era of working just enough to feel important, when my days were underscored by the cacophony of girl chatter and the never-ending assembly line of snacks.

That’s what I got back on football Saturday, and it was a clear win-win. Man, I love sports.

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