It was about a month before Christmas. I was twelve years old. All I wanted for Christmas was an electric football game. I had seen it advertised on TV. You place your eleven players opposite the other team’s eleven on the “field” and stuck the little magnetic football on one of your players. Then you turn on the switch and brrrrrrrr…the “field” begins to vibrate, all the players begin to move, and you’re set for many hours of fun and excitement! What more could a twelve year old football enthusiast ask for?
We lived in a little two bedroom apartment at the time. That’s a family of five with one bathroom and two bedrooms. There was one main closet just off the kitchen. Since this was the only one, this closet contained about every item you could think of, and a bunch you wouldn’t; and of course this was the only place for mom to hide Christmas presents.
One morning I was getting ready to leave for school. I reached into our closet to get my winter coat and saw it! There, way in the back, partially hidden under some winter boots, was my electric football game!
I should have left well enough alone – I should have been happy to know that I was getting the very thing I really wanted for Christmas – but I didn’t. I immediately began to work on my mom to wear her down and get her to let me play with my electric football game.
She wouldn’t give in at first. She insisted that it would ruin my Christmas if I got it out ahead of time. But I was persistent. I guaranteed mom that I wouldn’t let my Christmas be ruined by playing a few innocent games. It took some time, but mom relented and I opened my electric football game.
The “field” was about 18” x 36”, painted green with white lines for yard markers. It came with two teams of eleven players each, painted different colors to tell them apart; two little white plastic goal posts that inserted on either end of the field; a few magnetic footballs; two thin metal inserts painted to represent the home and away fans in the stands; and a little molded plastic, spring-loaded item that acted as a kicker and a passer. It was heaven in a brown cardboard container!
I followed the instructions: pushed all the tabs into the appropriate slots, stuck on the numbered decals, plugged the cord into an appropriate wall socket and was ready to play. I set the defense up, then my offense and, trembling with anticipation, turned on the switch. Sure enough the playing field began to vibrate and all the players began to move. The player with the magnetic football attached moved forward and gained a few “yards” until touched by one of the defensive players, meaning he was down – tackled. On second down I set up the defense, set up my offense and turned on the switch. Brrrrrrr…off the players went. A few yards gained. Third down now. You guessed it – more of the same. As boring as this sounds, I was thoroughly entertained by it for days! I played electric football every available minute.
Then came Christmas morning. My family at that time was struggling financially. My electric football game was a big expenditure of available cash and turned out to be virtually my only Christmas present. [Socks and underwear count for very little to a twelve year old] So, Christmas was the let down that mom predicted. But even more, by this time the electric football game was definitely losing its appeal. The brrrrrrrrr was getting downright annoying! Setting up the players after every play was tedious, and the players did virtually the same thing every time the switch was turned on.
One of the early situation comedies on TV was a show called “Father Knows Best”. This was one situation in my life that proved it was mother, not father, who knew best.