What would Heidi do?

Comical illustration of penguin and goat on top of mountain

True confession: I’m really not a football fan. Although I did go to an NFL game once (I think it was the 49ers and the Colts). And in college, we could pick up a season ticket as a perk of our student fees (football skirmishes were Big Business at our Big Ten university campus.) So, even though I had no clue what I was doing there in the end zone of a football stadium, I had my ticket and faithfully attended the games my freshman year. It was definitely a source of entertainment and people-watching.

In the non-pandemic world, I usually will go to a Super Bowl party — just to hang out with my friends and eat snack foods and vote on our favorite commercials. It’s generally a fun evening. However, this year in covid-land, I’m staying home.

One of my friends posted a funny comment on social media about whether he has to show love & Christ-like forgiveness towards the quarterback of his opposing team. And because I’m not vested at all in whoever wins tonight’s Super Bowl, I shrugged and replied, “With football, I’m Switzerland.”

And then, I chuckled, making the connection between Switzerland and TV football games.

Did you ever hear of the Heidi Game? Oh, my. Due to a major miscommunication (and 1968’s low technology), TV sports fans missed the crucial last few minutes of a football contest between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final minute of play… However… NBC had cut away from the game and began their broadcast of a TV movie adaptation of the children’s classic Heidi.

Football fans were livid, which was understandable. Instead of seeing the fourth-quarter finale and the Raiders’ comeback victory, they were treated to the scene of a little orphan girl running around in the Swiss Alps. Final score: Heidi 1, American Football League 0.

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