Sunday, September 13, 2009

I ♥ Football

After I posted on FaceBook that I was sitting on the couch Thursday watching the first game of the season, several people expressed surprise that I am into football. I’m not just into football. I’m rabidly fanatical. Well, almost. I don’t paint myself orange. But I did once sit through a game in the pouring rain. It took me a year to save up for the tickets and I wasn’t about to leave. Now I watch from the comfort (and economic austerity) of my own couch, curled up with my cats. Perhaps I don’t seem like the football type because I’m a woman, pacifist, vegetarian, hopelessly uncoordinated, Jewish mom who forbade her boys from playing football growing up, or all of the above. Whatever the reason, I say to you: get over it. I ♥ FOOTBALL!

Football is not a gladiator sport, as many who don’t care for the sport seem to think. You do have to have some smarts to play, despite what anomalies like Terrell Owens may lead you to assume. I once heard a woman say that football is soap opera for men. There is a lot of truth in that statement, because a big part of football for me is getting to know the players, hearing about their career paths, their background, their accomplishments, and what is going on in their life. Then I watch them on the field and am often deeply inspired to see how they perform. Football is the only game that excites me as much as watching my own children play intramural sports. Football is personal.

Football has infinite life lessons. The game is a phenomenal teacher. John Madden often used to say, “Football is a game of inches.” So is life. One never knows what hair’s breadth forward movement will tip the balance and take you to your goal. Player strategies, coaches’ styles, choices made, efforts rewarded or failed. They can have more depth than just the game. When Tony Dungy became the first black coach to win a Superbowl, it was more than just a game. When Eli Manning broke free from a swarm of Patriots and threw the winning touchdown pass, it was more than just a game. When Donovan McNabb was pulled out by his coach and benched, then returned to play his heart out, it was more than just a game. I love the drama of football, the passion that brought the players to the field, the commitment that keeps them there, the effort that makes them win or lose. I love the life lessons inherent in the game and the analogies that can be drawn from even the simplest football plays. I am forever hooked on football. And this year’s season is just beginning!

Here's today's game schedule.

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