of football and fall

It’s  Fall.

Football season……

and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about a particular piece of football equipment.

the mouth guard.

Intellectually I knew that mouth guards affected speech and I always felt sorry for the guys on the football field trying to speak and to understand each other with those things in their mouths.  It is a familiar sight to see a quarterback take the mouth guard out, call the play, and then put the mouth guard back in before the snap.  Anyone who watches football has seen that happen.

But just how much a mouth guard affects your speech never really sunk in for me till this past week.

I have had to start wearing a mouth guard at night.

No, I am not involved in some bizarre night time sporting activity which requires safety gear.  But I have been clenching my jaw in my sleep for years and it is starting to have a cumulative effect on my teeth.  Initially the dentist was talking about fitting me with an expensive, custom molded mouth guard.  Yikes.  I don’t have bunches of money right now so the prospect of a custom fitted dental appliance was a bit daunting!  But then the hygienist told me a secret.

“couldn’t I just get a football mouth piece?” I joked.

“yup” she said.

Music to my ears!

So the next time I was in Wal-mart I planned to get a football mouth piece.  Just for fun I looked in the dental care section first and lo and behold they had a mouth guard of the “boil and bite” variety that was not built for sports, but instead was designed for folks who clench or grind their teeth.  Perfect!  Just what I needed.  For only $20. Yipeee!

Bought it.  Took it home.  Boiled it.  Bit down.  I now have a mouth guard molded for my teeth that I can use each night to keep me from clenching my teeth all night in my sleep, Hooray!  Okay, actually to be perfectly correct, the mouth guard does NOT keep me from clenching my teeth.  It just keeps my inevitable jaw clenching from doing any damage to my teeth.

Aside from keeping me from damaging my own teeth, the mouth guard has had a major side effect though – I have gained a more personal, visceral understanding of just how difficult it is to speak as you normally would with one of these things in your mouth.  I have a greater appreciation than ever of football players who can manage to make themselves understood on the field.

And I have also gained a new understanding of Psalm 141:3.

Last year I memorized this verse and I intellectually related it to a football mouth guard as a way of helping me remember the verse.

Set a guard over my mouth oh Lord,
keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

But I hadn’t really understood just what I was asking God for.  I had previously thought of asking God to guard my mouth as essentially me asking God to  “stop me from speaking Lord.”   But I look at it very differently now.  Now that I have actually had a mouth guard in my own mouth I realize that really it is more that

the mouth guard fundamentally distorts your speech.

It’s not that you can’t talk.  You can.  Reasonably well actually.  But the mouth guard profoundly affects everything you say.  Your voice sounds a bit different, your pronunciations change, your ability to make any clipped sounds or sharp, crisp cut offs of consonants is gone, and glottal stops are just out the window.  Having a mouth guard in even, to a certain extent, affects your breathing mechanics.  And to a small extent it changes some facial expressions.

When I think now of asking God to “set a guard in my mouth” and realize that the guard He will place in me is the Holy Spirit, that whole last paragraph takes on spiritual meaning.

With the Holy Spirit in me, my voice should sound different.  My pronouncements will change.  My ability to be short with people and in my conversation should go away.  My every breath should be a prayer.  And if God is IN ME, He will affect even my facial expressions.

I Want God to Fundamentally Distort My Speech.

My personal paraphrase of Psalm 141:3 as a prayer now goes something like this –

“Set your Holy Spirit in my very mouth LORD, profoundly affect my every word, make it so that I cannot speak at all without betraying that YOU are in me.  Watch over me Lord.  Affect my breathing, and my expressions Jesus.   If I try to take out your guard so that I can speak in my old sinful selfish way, SEE me Lord and let your Holy Spirit kick me so that I do not take out my mouth guard. Ever.”

It is one of my most frequent prayers these days.  Well, other than “Lord, please do something ‘bout dem DAWGS”…………..


who gets the remote now?

There’s going to be a fair amount of “movie reviews” showing up on my blog between now and August.


Am I a movie buff? no.

Do I feel I have something to add to the famous critics and pundits who review each and every piece of fluff that comes out of Hollywood? no.

So why am I going to be reviewing movies?

You see, it has to do with who gets to control the remote in our home.

for those who don’t know, I’m a sports nut. Olympics, soccer, ice skating, gymnastics, but mostly…… Football. From August to February I have no time for ANYTHING on TV except football. Okay, okay I do watch Good Eats and I MADE time on the PVR for the Sarah Connor Chronicles, but that’s it really. Just Good Eats and Football.

Now my husband, on the other hand, is a movie nut. He loves movies. and he wants to share them with me. He also loves Science Fiction series (Babylon5, Farscape etc….) and he wants to share those with me as well.

But as long as it’s football season, there are not enough hours in the week for me to get through all the games I HAVE to watch.

By the time you count all the high school games on Friday, the college games on Saturday and the pro games on Sunday and Monday….whew! thats a lot of hours.

Thank heaven for the PVR. At least I can record my week of football and then “power through” the games by hitting the skip button after each play. The skip button (for those who don’t have one) sends you forward in time by 30 seconds. Do you know how long the commentators spend discussing exactly NOTHING between each actual football play? that’s right boys and girls: 30 seconds. Coincidence? I think not. I think the inventor of the PVR was a football fan.
My poor sweet hubby, who really didn’t care about football before he met me, but now knows more about the rules than I do has made a deal with me:

the #1 rule to keep peace in our home

Deirdre shall maintain control of the remote from August till February, after which time Martin shall retain sole ownership and control of said remote with all privilidges pertaining thereto.

So, from early February through Kickoff in August I have to watch whatever he wants.

Not a bad trade actually. But since he’s a movie buff, and since I can’t resist giving my opinion. ever. I will be subjecting you to movie reviews.


Deer in the headlights

Coming back from the once-every-two-years trip to Texas this November I finally got to see a real “deer the headlights”

My husband and I both love to drive at night, so we tend to plan these long trip (Our town to Dallas) so that most of the driving is at night. So there I am driving along at 3 a.m. singing to my favorite Michael W. Smith CD when all of a sudden this THING that is as big as the hood of my car (Ford Escape Hybrid) is taking up my entire lane.

and it’s just looking at me! I can’t change lanes to the right, cause there is someone there, so I slow waaay down and the silly thing continues to stare down my car (like it thinks it’s going to win this bizzare game of chicken. I’m becoming more and more aware of just how big this thing is. It’s turned broadside to me and it is honestly taking up the entire lane.

Eventually it shakes itself and ambles off into the dark. and let me tell you I’ve never been so careful a driver as I was for the next 100 miles or so. You may say I was just shaken and nervous. I will deny it. I was merely being careful. The headlights on bright are a precaution that everyone should use. And my constant scanning of the bushes on each side watching for whatever the next thing is thats going to leap into my path is NOT a twitch or a tick. It is a perfectly reasonable caution.

So now that I know what a deer in the headlights really looks like, I can honestly say that that was how I felt last night when I got the news that the head coach of my hometown professional football team has quit. I’m stunned. I can’t seem to move off the subject. I even brought it up in the middle of a completely unrelated conversation at work this morning. *sigh*

the thing I can’t understand about it is that we only have three games left. Couldn’t he have hung around for three more games? maybe even used the secret knowledge that he was leaving to go ahead and be the bad guy and fire some of the trouble makers and low performers on the team?

oh well. now we have to start over….again.

maybe I’d better get off the road, before a car comes along and smacks me.