Yes, I am ready for some football, thank you

mcsweeneys_imageIn the wake of Denver’s Thursday night thrashing of the defending Superbowl champion Ravens, I thought I’d re-post a column I wrote this time last year, called Scrimmage:

When I watch football, I don’t just see twenty-two players arrayed along a white line. I also see words, each with its own unique meaning, carefully arranged in a coherent sequence. When I watch a snap, I’m also listening, and reading deeply, parsing a sentence that was diagrammed, perhaps, on a coach’s clipboard in the off-season, composed and refined on the practice field, and then edited on the fly in the seconds before the center snaps the ball, as players shift position and switch assignments. Each individual on the line gets a say. Each player contributes to the message. Like a well-written sentence in which every word counts, a good play in football is clear and irrefutable.

What’s YOUR preferred kidnapping scenario?

mcsweeneys_imageMy latest column at McSweeney’s, The Lady or the Tire Iron?, walks you through one of the fun and educational classes I took at the NWMAF special training camp in July, where we locked each other in the trunk of a car:

[W]hat happens when you invest some time, and effort, in physically walking through the stories we spend so much time imagining, is that the mythical, omnipotent abductor disappears in a puff of smoke. In the harsh light of day, or the stuffy darkness of a car trunk, you can see him for the two-dimensional character he is. You realize, as you’re puffing and sweating and heaving ineffectually at some stranger’s torso, that if “something like that” ever does happen to you, it won’t be like all the stories. Real attacks, unlike urban legends, involve real attackers, real objects, and real choices. They provide real, tangible opportunities—lots of them; you have no idea how many until you try it—for escape and victory and survival.