There was a reason that Jerry was able to retain at least some composure during the games that did not involve the Colts. He was a stockbroker, and he kept complicated charts of games because he was convinced that there was a correlation between the number of first downs, punts and fumble recoveries that a team made and how the stocks of the companies in that team's city would fare in the following week. For instance, if the Detroit Lions charted the right number of first downs, punts and fumble recoveries, it was time to get into Chrysler.
After years of cross-checking his theories, Jerry decided to test them for real one week, and the results were astonishing. Every stock he bought soared at least 18 POINTS. Of course, that was also the week in 1966 when the Dow Jones averages climbed 64 points and the American Stock Exchange index—the whole index—split two for one, and 463 out of 472 listings on the Over-the-Counter went up. As a consequence, Jerry confided to Rosalie that he did not think it altogether fair to claim that his theories had been completely borne out.
Nonetheless, she was grateful enough for the time that it took him to offer her these revelations. In season, any ordinary fan, such as Jerry, was required to attend devotions every day of the week, not just on Sunday. The foreplay of pro football is considerably more involved and lengthy—if not also more vital—than the game itself. There was seldom any free time left over to enjoy shared experiences with Rosalie.
Sundays, Jerry was at Memorial Stadium if the Colts were home or he was rooted downstairs to the television if they were away. Mondays, the game took up much of his day at the office and it required all of his concentration to attend the regular weekly luncheon meeting with the Colt Stampede fan club.
Tuesdays, Jerry never came home until the wee hours of the next morning. First, he was required to attend his weekly National Guard meeting. Afterward he always went out with some of the other Guardsmen to play APBA Football, a scientific board game, and the players in Jerry's APBA league had draft meetings and trades and preseason games and a regular season. Wednesday nights, Jerry was so tired from staying up late the night before to play APBA that he was forced to take it easy, isolating himself so that he could examine pro football journals and watch NFL highlights from the previous Sunday's game on TV. Thursday evenings featured Colt highlights on television. By Fridays, although there was no electronic exercise, Jerry was in such a stew over the approaching game Sunday that he often drank to excess and was generally incoherent even if he did not. Saturdays, he was hung over, and although his buddy Reds Ritchie usually came over to speculate on Colt strategy, Jerry would always go to bed early, oblivious to Rosalie's charms because "I need my sleep—it's going to be a big day come tomorrow."
On those few occasions when Rosalie still bothered to offer a token complaint about this weekly schedule, Jerry would get huffy and reply: "It's just a game. Would you like it better if I were out chasing women?" This particular Sunday night, as the kids became engrossed with the antelopes and Jerry remained downstairs with the MUST-game, Rosalie began musing more seriously on his response. She put This Week aside and, sipping on her banana daiquiri, she decided that she might indeed prefer the alternative, since it was her understanding that married men who chased after other women did it more on their own time, and also, they brought home flowers and jewels to their wives and took their children to zoos and amusement parks because of their guilty consciences.
She was still meditating on these philosophical matters when Jerry came upstairs so choked with emotion that he could hardly manage to crack open a new beer. "Daddy's crying," Jerry Jr. informed Kimberly, and Jerry took that cue to come over to his children and explain how grownups could cry with happiness. It was nothing sissy at all. Then, employing salt and pepper shakers as key personnel, with Kimberly's leftover mashed potatoes serving as the line of scrimmage, he outlined some of the bigger plays that had just brought the Colts victory. Kimberly crawled up on his lap. She knew her father now, the strong man who could fix anything around the house and play many honky-tonk songs on the piano. He was himself again. The long, hard day before the TV set was over. There were no more games from any more time zones from anywhere. There was nothing left for him now but to wait until the 11 o'clock news to hear the reconfirmation of all the scores that he had just heard on the post-game wrap-up.
"What an incredible day," he said, putting an arm around Rosalie's shoulder as if she were a teammate who had just made a tough block. He tended in season toward this sort of comrade's affection. Every now and then he would even forget himself altogether and slap Rosalie on the rear instead of kissing her. He steered her into the living room and collapsed on the sofa.
"There was no tomorrow for the Colts if they lost this one," he expostulated. "What heart," and he pounded his own with his beer can for emphasis. "Now just think, if we can beat Green Bay next Sunday, we...."
"Do we have to think about next Sunday already?"