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Prof. Gets a Boot Out of Football

October 16, 1990|HERBERT J. VIDA

At times, chemistry and astronomy professor David M. Gray wears his hog nose, a Washington Redskins fan trademark, to show what a loyal Redskins fan, follower and hard-nosed football zealot he really is.

So it only seemed right that he teach others, especially women, the unabashed joy of watching and understanding football, especially from an armchair.

And they don't necessarily have to be Redskins fans, even though it would make him feel better.

"Television was made to watch football," said Gray, who feels it would be a smart idea for couples to jointly attend classes to learn the ins and outs of gridiron watching.

"I appreciate the game," said the Golden West College professor, who reveals to those in his recent three-meeting, two-hour Armchair Football class at the college that he has never played organized football.

"Twenty years ago, it might have been a fantasy of mine to have played," said the Huntington Beach man who stands 5-foot-8. "I recognized I would never have survived."

Those in his night non-college-credit class have fun homework assignments.

The usual roster of 12 women were asked to watch weekend football games and see if they could recognize the things that were discussed in class.

That includes the subtleties in the sport, such as individual player changes and defensive matchups. "It's also fun trying to anticipate different strategies and watching the different skill levels of the players," he said.

When he taught in Georgia 20 years ago, Gray taught a similar class called Football for Football Widows, which would regularly attract 25 females. Most had abstained from watching football because they were unfamiliar with the game.

"Most women really don't have any type of understanding on how the game breaks down," he said. "It's like any other sport. If you don't understand the basic concepts, you really can't enjoy watching it."

While the classes in Georgia and at Golden West College were geared to women, Gray feels the information that he imparts would help everyone better understand the game. "There are many men who don't understand it," he adds.

"Have you every watched cricket?" asked the University of Mississippi graduate during the interview. "I tried to watch a few matches and had no idea what they were doing, and without someone to tell me what was going on, I stopped watching after a few minutes."

Gray said women in the class tell him that their husbands watch football all the time and when the wives join in, they "are bored stiff (because) they don't understand what's going on."

The bottom line for women, he feels, is for them to get the knowledge of the game and watch it for their own enjoyment "and maybe offer some good insight to their male counterparts."

Acknowledgments--Susan N. Victor, 34, a 1978 Cal State Fullerton graduate and former Garden Grove La Quinta High School student teacher, is in Washington for a White House ceremony at which she is to receive a Presidential Citation for excellence in teaching science and mathematics. She is a mathematics teacher in Las Vegas and will join other state winners in attending a series of receptions, briefings and special events this week.

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