In the NFL's infinite wisdom, the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons will find themselves playing a game this Sunday in England. Pip pip, cheerio, and perhaps a jolly good time will be had by all -- the inevitable jet-lag for the players notwithstanding. Yet it poses a dilemma for their fans back stateside.
Due to the time change, the game will start at roughly 9:30 AM in both Atlanta and Detroit (eastern time zone).
Granted, your typical NFL fan is pretty much a heathen. How else to explain not only the rowdy behavior and outrageous outfits in most stadiums on game day, but also much the same in thousands of bars jam-packed with folks rooting on their home teams? Infidels indeed.
It's common practice for many of these establishments to offer up game-day "specials", whereby they'll provide free food (often catered by a hard-core "regular" patron), and discounted beer when their team scores. Most all hawk football "squares" every week, ranging from a buck a pop to 5, 10, even 20 dollars per square. Oftentimes, the same bar will have a variety of different square sheets of differing values in play at the same time. Winners will typically be paid after each quarter and upon the final score. Do you feel lucky, and how much do you want to gamble?
Also, it's certainly not uncommon for a bartender or waitress to offer a "50-50" raffle. Step up and buy your tickets. A buck apiece or six for five dollars. The "lucky" winner is usually drawn at halftime, but this has always been a rip-off. Why? Because even if you win, you only get half. The other half goes into the wallet or purse of the bartender or waitress. I can see 10% to pay for the tickets and the trouble of taking up the collection-- but half? No way. And it's amazing how many times the boyfriend of the bartender or a slobbery drunk (who will give his share of the winnings right back to her in an attempt to impress) seems to win these things. At any rate -- it's a sucker bet. If you just have to, much better to plop those same bucks down on Keno easy picks. At least that way you know it's on the up and up. I think. Would the governor and the state lie to you? Hmmm. Nevermind. But I digress.
Back to the game this Sunday. Few would question Lions' fans have kept the faith for a very long time. The last time they won the NFL championship was way back in 1957. Eisenhower was President and the Edsel was about to make its debut. This was a full decade before Super Bowls even started. In the ensuing 57 years, the Lions have won a grand total of one playoff game, and remain the only non-expansion team to have never reached the Super Bowl.
Yet the Honolulu blue and silver heathens continue to fanatically support their team. This is most definitely keeping the faith.
However, faith comes in a different variety as well. As in worshipping on Sunday mornings at the religious establishment of one's choice. It's likely not too much of a stretch to assume even some Lions' fans are God-fearing people and would normally be getting "churched up" on Sunday mornings.
But with the game in London starting at 9:30 AM local time, they have to make a tough choice. Do they put on their suits and dresses, spiff up the kids, and head to the local tabernacle to hear Pastor Smith's sermon, sing songs of praise, pray, and drop a few bucks in the offering plate? Or do they arrange for the baby-sitter ahead of time, put on their Lions gear, and head to the local saloon to start getting loaded while scarfing up a breakfast buffet at 9 in the morning, and checking out which numbers they drew on their square sheets?
It would appear different faiths can present a dilemma at times......