Giving football a female touch
Football trivia and recipes are included in the guide.
By LAURA S. MEYN
Listen up, ladies. There is no reason why next Sunday can't be your day to sit around with friends, eating chips and dip, drinking beer and watching the biggest game of the year -- the Super Bowl. There are plenty of women who are big football fans already, but for those who have been on the outside for many long years, help is on the way.
There's a new guide to the sport -- written by a woman, Carol Stout, especially for women: "The Chicks' Guide to Football: a Complete Guide to Tight Ends."
Sassy title aside, this really is a serious, in-depth guide. But it's written in a chatty style that makes it fun to read, and it starts with the basics, so nobody -- even the least sporty -- is left behind.
"Most of the books you see on football are written by ex-players; its from their point of view," said Stout. "I wanted to write something from the beginning."
Stout, who is from Indianapolis, said she has always enjoyed the camaraderie of watching football games, but didn't understand the game. About a year and a half ago she became involved with a guy she calls a "football nut," and she realized she'd either be a football widow during the season or learn more about it. So she set out to learn everything she could about the sport.
"That little guy running across the back of the field isn't lost, he's actually doing something," Stout said, recalling how the light bulb went on for her.
Understanding: Hers is a comprehensive guide. Aside from a full explanation of the game's rules and regulations, there is a glossary for decoding all that game-speak, and there is a rundown of each team in the National Football League.
Plus, Stout herself is pictured demonstrating all referee signals, with corresponding explanations.
Perhaps most valuable is the chapter on team histories, so you can read up on the participating teams for any particular game. And of course, a big part of enjoying the game at home is the ancillary activities; Stout has included football trivia questions, a few recipes for favorite game-time snacks and even instructions on setting up a grid for a football pool.
While Stout is headed to New Orleans for this year's Super Bowl, hoping to get tickets, she usually either throws her own Super Bowl party or goes to one.
And while she maintains that knowledge of the game is paramount to enjoying it, Stout agrees that the Super Bowl is also a great excuse to have fun in the middle of winter.
A few tips: Here are her tips for throwing a Super Bowl party:
USend out invitations in the shape of a football. Take two pieces of brown paper, cut in an oval (football shape), one slightly larger than the other, glue edges together and stuff with a bit of cotton, glue the ends and use a metallic silver or gold pen to write the invitation information.
UInvite your guests to dress in their favorite team colors. Hosts should wear referee stripes. Don't know the team colors? These and other essential facts are provided in "The Chicks' Guide to Football."
UDecorate with throws, tablecloths, shirts, jackets, hats and other team paraphernalia or items in team colors. Go to the local thrift store, and you can buy almost any team clothing, jerseys and other items for decorating.
UDon't forget the pompoms. Get them at a local party store. Do a team cheer during half time in your living room.
USet up a friendly football pool. Build a football score grid to identify the predicted scores. Sell each box for a set amount. Closest winner takes all.
UPlay football trivia for fun prizes, including hats, shirts, magnets, etc. Go to your local novelty or party store for unusual sports and related football items.
UMake some fabulous football food. Make some great chili, chips and dip and hot wing recipes. They are sure to be a winner.
UDecorate your table in Astroturf, bowls set in football helmets, cleats and shoulder pads (courtesy of your local used sports equipment store) and make goal posts for the end of the table with paper towel tubes.
UGive all your female guests a copy of "The Chicks' Guide to Football" as party favors.
And what about this Super Bowl?
At press time the final two teams were still to be decided, but Stout, like most fans, already had a favorite picked -- the Pittsburgh Stealers. "I look really good in their colors," she joked. "I think they deserve it. They've worked hard and have come a long way."
And judging from the number of e-mail thank-you notes Stout has gotten from women since publishing her football guide, perhaps there will be more ladies watching this year. "I had one woman actually say that instead of arguing with her husband about taking out the trash, she now argues with him about plays."
Look for "The Chicks' Guide to Football" at your favorite bookstore (call ahead; it's not available everywhere), or order it online from www.amazon.com or www.chicksguidetofootball.com.