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.