The Chargers Don't Wear Pink

“I’d rather read a book or look at pretty pictures.”

Colleen doesn’t care much for football. Her husband Philip says she’s the exception to his theory that married women learn to love the game through their husbands.

It’s the season’s first evening of Monday night football, and the Chargers are playing the Kansas City Chiefs. A big-screen television blasting the game takes center stage in the spacious, light-filled living room/kitchen of the Escondido home the couple shares with Colleen’s mother. Downstairs in the den, where it’s carpeted, cozy, and dim, another big-screen is also tuned to the game.

“September through January, football is always on,” Colleen says. “Constantly.”

It doesn’t bother her, though. Not because she’s a saint, but because Philip loves football, and “it would just be a problem to have a problem with it,” she says.

This evening, Colleen sits at the computer downstairs playing Bejeweled (a puzzle game) and shopping on Amazon while Philip does his homework in front of the television in the next room and feeds Cheez-Its to Artemis and Cocoa, the two dogs at his feet. Yesterday, while Philip spent the day watching football, she read three books and a story.

Yes, three full-length books and a short story. No Mercy, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, she bought for her Nook e-book reader. The other two books (Evermore by Alyson Noël and Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger) and the story (“The Girl on the Beach” by Charles Todd) she got for free — one of the perks of owning a Nook.

“I’m a voracious reader who tears through books,” she says. “To the point where other things get left undone.”

Reading is part of the reason Colleen doesn’t mind that football season keeps Philip occupied.

“I don’t mind having the time to myself,” she says. “It works out okay by giving us something we can do together — if I choose to.”

At the end of the first quarter, Philip pops his head into the office and says, “We’re tied.”

“Look at that smile,” Colleen says. “Only sports can give him that smile.”

Colleen has her own theories about football. Citing Mayan soccer, Roman chariot racing, and English jousting, she concludes that men’s need for competition is an “obvious” part of life and culture. “They not only need competition, but they need to talk about that competition with other males,” she says. “I think it’s probably biological.”

Men, she theorizes, are into the “game” of the game: the trades, the statistics, the tackles, and the plays. And for women who like football, Colleen suggests it’s probably more about socialization. “It’s something to talk about with other people, to think about, or to plan for. A place to go, something to do with their sweetheart.”

Although Colleen is the exception to Philip’s married-women-adapt-and-learn-to-like-football theory, she does occasionally live out the football-with-my-sweetheart socialization process of her own theory. “If we’re out somewhere where football is on TV, I’ll kind of watch it with him and ask questions,” she says, “like about Tomlinson and why we hate him.”

Colleen was a cheerleader in junior high and high school, and even back then, she preferred the social aspects of cheerleading over the rah-rah factor. Born and raised in San Diego, she claims that if she were to choose a team, it would have to be the Chargers.

At the same time, if it weren’t for Philip, she’d never watch football.

“I’d rather read a book, surf the internet and read the news, or look at pretty pictures,” she says.

A few minutes into the second quarter, Colleen abandons her Facebook page to join Philip and the dogs on the couch.

These days Philip doesn’t spend as much time watching football with the guys as he used to. He’s trying to avoid “getting drunk on Sundays,” he says. “It’s easy to drink a little extra when you’re watching the game with your friends.”

When they do host football parties, Colleen does not hang out in the kitchen, playing hostess. “For the football parties, it’s the guys’ thing,” she says. “They barbecue carne asada, and they have their beer and their chips. Everybody brings boy food.” Whatever wives or girlfriends are along might watch the game for a few minutes, but then they usually join Colleen for a jaunt to Starbucks or to play games on the computer.

Philip jokes that because Colleen isn’t enamored of football, and therefore glued to the television during games, she has no excuse for not serving cookies and Buffalo wings to his guests.

“I have plenty of excuses,” she says, giggling.

For the next few minutes, she sits, saying nothing and staring absently at the television until Philip informs her, “Our rookie just fumbled.”

To prove she understands the lingo, she says, “A rookie is a first-year player, and fumble means to drop the ball. Do I get a cookie?”

“Only if you name the rookie,” Philip says.

She can’t.

Lightning’s Girl

In the three-plus years since Lightning’s Girl joined the BoltTalk.com forum, she has posted 3385 times, for an average of 2.47 times per day. Her About Me page on the site reads, Interests: God and Family first, then CHARGERS football!

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BoltTalk.com
Date: July 13, 2010
Time: 6:12 p.m.
Thread Title: SHIT, this place is dead!!! Offseason sucks!
Thread started by: Lightning’s Girl
Post # 1: Lightning’s Girl
Just so ya know…I HATE the OFFSEASON!!!!!!!

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For Lightning’s Girl’s family, the off-season might be the best part of the year.

“I’ve got two sons and two daughters, and not one of them is a football fan,” says the 51-year-old nurse and grandmother of four. “It’s probably because of me. I do get emotional during the games. I stomp around. I jump up and down. I cuss. And, oh my gosh, when I smoked? I’d go through a pack a game.”

Her voice is deep and throaty. When she laughs, which she does often, it’s easy to imagine a puff of smoke escaping along with the sound.

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