- The Senior Ladies’ Unruly NFL Fan Club
The Senior Ladies’ Unruly NFL Fan Club
By Didi Gorman
Agnes’s TV was booming. One could hear it echoing throughout the seniors’ residence.
Agnes’s TV had boomed all through football season and even more so when the New England Patriots were playing, which was exactly what happened tonight.
At 89 years of age, Agnes was the founder of the residence football fan club ‘the NFL parliament’, the other members of which included Theresa, who had just turned 90; Frances, who was 88 years old and mostly came for the food; Thelma, who at the youthful age of 86 was the youngest of the group and who – in a similar fashion to a child joining a group of adults – was not taken very seriously, and Martha (87) who always brought peanuts with her to shoot at the TV in case she disapproved of a player’s tactics.
Last but not least, there was Beth, who had not really been invited this time but showed up just the same. The reason she had not been invited was not in the least that at 92, as the eldest of the group, she couldn’t walk that well; she could walk just fine, gripping her tennis-balled walker with such zeal and determination, that on game nights she zoomed across the hallway from her apartment, three doors away, to Agnes’s, in no time flat. No, it had nothing to do with her age and a lot to do with her geographical provenance: Beth came from New Jersey and supported the New York Jets, and this flaw in her personality had made her somewhat of a persona-non-grata in the eyes of Agnes, a proud Bostonian. In addition, Beth had a tendency to heckle and emit loud, unsolicited, commentary throughout the game.
It is worth mentioning that the club’s strict policy of zero-tolerance to mischief had never quite been enforced – not one single member had ever been forcibly removed or voted out of the club. No wonder, therefore, it had little effect on the rowdier supporters such as Martha and Beth.
And so our jolly bunch convened at the parliament’s hub which was Agnes’s living room, armed with cans of soda and bags of chips (and peanuts in Martha’s case) to watch a spirited game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Before long, the ladies (minus Theresa who had just fallen asleep and was snoring with her mouth open) plunged into heated arguments about touchdowns, tackles, passes, and whether the quarterbacks moved too slowly, too clumsily or were too careful or not careful enough. It was quite difficult to hear the TV with all that noise, which resulted in Agnes’s turning the volume up, whereupon the others raised their voices higher. This necessitated turning the volume higher still, which only made the disciples shout in order to be heard. Soon enough the TV was booming and the parliament roaring. Except for Theresa who slept through it all.
And then a touchdown was scored. “Saw that flawless touchdown, Theresa?” Agnes elbowed Theresa excitedly to wake her up. But before Theresa had a chance to find her bearings, there was a ‘poing’ and a peanut hit the TV screen. Poing! Poing! Beth had reached into Martha’s peanut stash and was now shooting a whole handful at the TV. Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing!
“Boo! Lame! Take that, loser!” she jeered at a random Patriot shirt crossing the screen, as she fired another handful at the TV. Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing! Poing!
What happened next was mayhem. When Beth finally ran out of ammo, after peanut projectiles coated the entire carpet, she jerked her arms in the air and bellowed, “Tackle him! Tackle him!” in the direction of the screen. Only that now Martha noticed that all her peanuts were gone, and she glared at Beth with narrowed eyes. Agnes, sensing trouble, positioned herself between the two, but as she did, she accidentally sat on the remote control, switching to a classical music channel by mistake. Agnes tried to retrieve the rogue remote, but Beth was faster. The poor remote was yanked back and forth in opposite directions, a commotion that resulted in the knocking over of a soda bottle and the switching of channels yet again, this time to a documentary about the life of Napoleon. Martha was now hollering at Beth on account of the missing peanuts, Thelma was waving at Martha to keep her voice down, Agnes was putting her fingers in her ears, Frances used the opportunity to snatch a few chips from Beth’s and Theresa’s bags, and on the TV, His Royal Majesty Emperor Bonaparte was parading his army to invade Russia. And all this turmoil, at last, woke Theresa up.
“Are the Cowboys winning yet?” she asked, yawning and rubbing her eyes.
“You’re in the wrong game!” growled Beth.
“Ah, ok, I can go back to sleep then,” mumbled Theresa, as she closed her eyes again.
“It was a hard-fought battle!” opined Beth, pointing at the TV, but whether she was referring to the game or to the failed attempt by the French army to conquer Russia, no one could tell for sure.
When the game was over and spirits settled down and a maintenance team cautiously peered through Agnes’s door and then came inside to clean up the debris, all went back to normal. Rivalries were forgotten, friendships were restored, and the women hugged, as they always have, when they bid farewell and agreed to meet up again in a few days to watch yet another game together. After all, this was just another evening at Agnes’s NFL parliament.
**Author’s note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to real people or real places is purely coincidental.**