The Super Bowl of Gardening

squirrel in football stance

California Gray Squirrel perfecting his two-point stance

I’ve tried to like American football. With numerous invitations to Super Bowl parties over the years, my interest stemmed from a desire to fit in. To be “one with the ball” so to speak. By the time I reached my mid-twenties, however, I threw in the towel. When they were handing out the sports-loving genes, I was waiting in line for a green thumb. It’s a national pastime in the States, culminating in this weekend’s Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t begrudge the fans, as long as they’re well-behaved, but other than fast-forwarding through the clever commercials, Super Bowl Sunday is just another day for me. Weather permitting, I would rather spend the time in the garden.

I consulted the For Dummies series to educate myself on the following football terms, then translated them into phrases that a gardener will understand.

Without further ado, here is your guide to the Super Bowl of Gardening

Down: A period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when the ball is ruled dead (meaning that the play is completed).

Down: A period of time known as winter.  Gardening down time.

End zone: A 10-yard-long area at both ends of the field — the promised land for a football player.

End zone: The only zone in which you can’t grow a thing.  I garden in zone 9b.

Extra point: A kick, worth one point, that’s typically attempted after every touchdown.

Extra point: When you plant one thing, and two things come up instead.

Field goal: A kick, worth three points, that can be attempted from anywhere on the field but usually is attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost.

Field goal: My goal is to grow a garden as big as a football field.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the ball while running with it or being tackled.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the bulb you just dug up when the resident gardener runs after you saying “No!  Not the tulip bulbs!!!” This usually pertains to squirrels.

Hash marks: The lines on the center of the field that signify 1 yard on the field.

Hash marks: The indentations left on your knees after pulling weeds all day.

Interception: A pass that’s caught by a defensive player, ending the offense’s possession of the ball.

Interception: The sunflowers saved by a defensive gardener who figures out clever ways to outsmart the squirrels.

Kickoff: A free kick that puts the ball into play.

Kickoff: Also referred to as ‘Spring.’

Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it falls toward his foot.

Punt: A kick made when a gardener drops a packet of seeds and tries desperately to keep them from hitting the ground.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent’s goal line with the intent of scoring or gaining significant yardage.

Return: The act of returning to the garden center again and again because you simply can’t help yourself.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Sack: A great place to store and dry last year’s seeds.

Snap: The action in which the ball is hiked (tossed between the legs) by the center to the quarterback, to the holder on a kick attempt, or to the punter.

Snap: The sound a gardener’s neck makes, when she realizes that what she just brushed off her shoulder has six furry legs. A snap may also warrant a trip to the chiropractor.

Touchdown: A score, worth six points, that occurs when a player in possession of the ball crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line, or when a player catches the ball while in the opponent’s end zone, or when a defensive player recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Touchdown: When you brush your hand across the surface of a lambs ear it’s like touching down.

and finally

Turnover: When, with either a fumble or an interception, one team loses possession of the football to the other.

Turnover: After a full day in the garden, I want to enjoy a hot cup of tea and an apple turnover. Yum!

Wishing you a terrific weekend, on or off the field.

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49 thoughts on “The Super Bowl of Gardening

  1. I feel the same way about our national sport of rugby. Some of us have talents other than sport watching! This is very clever and some of them were laugh out loud moments – ‘snap’ and ‘hash marks’ are truly relateable! I even learned what some of the terminology I keep hearing means. Thanks for that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m laughing, Pauline, because as I read this, Mike is watching a US/Uruguay rugby game on ESPN. I’ve been making cards and reading blog posts. We did enjoy our evening walk with Mouse in tow. Variety is the spice of life and all that. 😉

      I’m glad these gardening terms made you laugh.I think hash marks might be my favorite.

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  2. ‘Footie’ is a national obsession here too, whichever code you favour: NFL (our version), NRL, soccer or AFL. To confuse matters further, different code teams often have the same name, so we have several Sharks, Bulldogs, etc. How nice to experience footie jargon converted into an activity that doesn’t involve a ball!

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  3. You are so creative! And so funny too. As much as I appreciated your adorable parallels, though, I’m still not sure I fully grasp the point of American football. If I want to be thoroughly confused, I’d rather watch a cricket match any day! 🙂 Thank you for the big smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, H! There sure are a lot of terms and rules. And because I don’t follow along, I find it hard to grasp a lot of them. Basketball and tennis are far easier to grasp. I’m picturing you smiling. It’s a nice image at the end of this Monday.

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  4. Delightful! We’ve never been into Super Bowl activities either. I do enjoy the puppy and kitten bowls on alternate channels though. ;- ) I was just consulting a local nursery man on the phone yesterday about prospective trees and shrubs for our yard. This morning there was snow on the ground. We haven’t seen snow around here since the end of last year (or was it early January?). My soul is ready for kickoff even if the time isn’t quite right yet.

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    • Thank you! This waiting for spring time of year is tricky. You think you’re out of the woods, and then it freezes again. It’s rare for us here in San Jose, but I know it’s true in most other parts of the country as well as the countries that have true seasons. How exciting to be adding trees and shrubs. I can’t wait to see what you plant.

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  5. You are so remarkably talented at taking the football terms and translating them into gardening terms. The squirrel photo in hike position is priceless. I don’t have a sports gene either. Not one. The television won’t come on at all this weekend. When my son was here, he would watch hours of tennis or golf. I would also rather watch paint dry. He never watched football though. Lots of shows on painting which I didn’t mind as much as the car shows. Nothing like car racing though. Don’t quite get that. You made me laugh with all your terminology explanations. I have some books to read this weekend as I listen to the rain. The storm did not materialize here. 🙂 Happy weekend. Hugs.

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    • Awwww. Thank you, Marlene. What a lovely thing to say. These were challenging at first, but once I got going, the juices flowed. Mike went next door and watched the game with his friend. He texted me when it was half time, and another friend texted me the commercial I should watch (which I did online). Otherwise I enjoyed a game-free day. I caught up on paperwork last week and I’m now lining up a few “relaxing” projects to help during this stressful time. Today I made cards, and over the weekend, I started to crochet. I bought a beginners book, and though my work looks amateurish, I’m enjoying the rhythm of the movement. (Lindy enjoyed the yarn).

      Mike watches the grand prix and the sound makes me nuts. I have to leave the room to avoid the droning on and on. I’m glad the storm was a bust. What did you read this weekend? I just finished “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” and loved it. Hugs

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      • I’ve spent a lot of time organizing in all the rooms and shed and this weekend finished ” The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.by Nichole Bernier. I didn’t care much for it and much more enjoyed “The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin”by Stephanie Knipper. It takes awhile to get the feel for crochet but once you do it’s very relaxing. I used to love it. Taking a bit of downtime this month. Resting more and definitely sticking to the diet. Feb 9 is 30 days. Then I can weigh myself and see if it helped. 🙂

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        • Congratulations on sticking with the diet. Are you feeling better as a result? I’m glad you are resting as well. I don’t know either of those books. You’re brave to plow all the way through a book you didn’t like.I love the titles of both books though. I hope tomorrow’s weigh in delivers the results you’ve worked hard for.

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  6. LOL! American football sounds complicated with all those terms – much easier to understand the gardening equivalents! I especially liked the last one. ;-). Does American football use the word ‘strudel’ (as in apple strudel) for anything? 😉 Whatever you are doing this Sunday, hope it’s a great day Alys! 🙂

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  7. I was a big football (soccer) fan in my teens some time before it became such big business and the players used to come mainly from the place the team was named after rather than a different country altogether. Now, I am indifferent to it and am lucky to have a husband who doesn’t like watching sport at all.
    A clever glossary you have compiled and, again, I love your squirrel. Will he become a feature?

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    • Wow, a non-sports watching spouse. Lucky you. Sports is big business, and that’s changed it completely, like so many things. As you say, a team was more of a local thing.

      You know ever since you mentioned the squirrel as a regular feature, you’ve got me thinking. Stay tuned.

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  8. Very clever Alys, have you ever watched the Puppy Bowl? It is so much cuter than watching the football game. My husband signs up for cable for 2 months every year so he can watch European soccer – then we cancel when the season ends. No football fans in this house, but we do enjoy the parties!

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    • Thank you, Karen! I’ve heard of the Puppy Bowl, but I honestly don’t know exactly what it is. My husband’s family immigrated from Italy and Argentina so he grew up on Soccer. Great idea subscribing to cable for two months. Clever you.

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  9. Your glossary was a perfect way to start the day! And how many seeds did you have to pay the squirrel to pose so perfectly?!
    You may be interested to know that Aussie Rules Football has launched a women’s league. The first games have been played this week. The first attracted 24,000 people (!!!!!) and they had to turn people away. And they are broadcasting the games on mainstream, free-to-air TV in prime time!!!!! That is such a big step forward for women’s sport.
    But is means that some terms have to be rethought, like “holding the man”. “Holding the player” or even just “Holding” should be fine.

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    • Thank you, Anne! I could not believe that squirrel posing for me in that position. With a belly full for the winter, I don’t think he could stand any other way. What exciting news for women’s sports in Australia. It’s exhilarating to hear they had record turnout and prime time viewing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your definitions, Alys. I sat here chuckling through them. May you have a nice day tomorrow for the Super Bowl of gardening. Not supposed to be all that nice here, but I may try to trim back the roses.

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    • Hi Lisa, So did you end up heading to the garden today? We’re enjoying a gentle rain. I did a bit of weeding yesterday, but your note reminds me that I need to prune my one miniature rose. I took out the second rose as it was encroaching on the Little Free Library. Too many thorns for all the activity around the box. I’ll replant something after my friend re-paints it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh so clever and funny, too!
    “Snap” made me laugh, as did the chiropractic comment 🙂
    Punt brought forth quite the visual image.
    Super fun post, Alys

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    • Thank you, Laurie. I know you inherited the sports-loving gene, so I’m hoping you’re having a wonderful time today watching the game with friends. We’re enjoying lovely showers so my garden is enjoying a terrific “half-time” show. 😉

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  12. oH you are the clever one. I don’t know too much about football but it seems you covered all the bases (smirk)…..I know that’s a reference to the other great America sports past time but I don’t know any clever football quips, LOL.
    You’re little squirrel is adorable. I’ve been hearing the odd chirps from afar. The sunny warm afternoons must be a signal to them here, that it’s time to venture out of their winter beds. But we are not out of the woods as far as winter goes. 5 days ago it was -28C overnight. Today it’s +6C :/ We just go with the flow. I’m certain it will get cold again, it will be spring here in mid-may, no matter what the calendar says. Out east, they’re getting hammered by hurricane type snow storms dumping as much as 80 cm of snow in parts of Nova Scotia…..add winds of hurricane measure and that’s one hell of a mess. xoxo k

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  13. Nicely done! I don’t understand the game either, we’ve rugby on the TV here at the moment and I have to say, I don’t understand that either! Gardening is a much more peaceful and satisfying interest, I can’t wait to get back into my garden.

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