As a SAHM I admit that, generally speaking, I just can't keep track of the date. Any time I am filling out a form, I have to either take out my cell phone, frantically look for a calendar hanging nearby, or worst case scenario, ask someone standing next to me. There are times I am even startled by what month it is. But today, sweet August, I always know. It signals the beginning of something very special to me - football season.
I love football. No, go back and read that line again, and when you read it, really enunciate the word love. Now drag it out for a second or two - looooooooooooooove. Now you are starting to get a glimpse of how I feel about this sport. I always (half) joke that my life's priorities are 1. God 2. family 3. football. I am passionate about football. You know that feeling you get when you wake up Christmas morning and you have that small, almost tickly feeling of excitement in the pit of your stomach? I get that on Sundays, Mondays, and and now Thursdays September through January. I turn into Pavlov's dog when I hear the Monday Night Football music. And now there is this magical thing called "Fantasy Football" where I can live the lie that somehow I am intricately involved in this sport of sports. I tremble with anticipation even as I write this. Oh, I just looooooooooooooove football!
People inevitably ask me why I love football. It is a multi-faceted answer. For one thing, I come from a family of football lovers. My parents enjoyed watching football, and after being shushed time and time again for pretending to be a cheerleader, I finally decided to sit down and actually listen to the commentators. Hmmm, kind of interesting this sport of football. In 2006, my Grandma Ruth was turning 90 the day after the Super Bowl. Had the Steelers lost, it would have been a lousy birthday. Ninety meant nothing without that black and gold victory.
As I was just starting my love affair with the sport, along came a man named Walter Payton. For anyone who didn't have the privilege of watching Sweetness play football, do yourself a favor and get a DVD about him. (Trust me, they make them.) Sweetness could do what no other mere mortal could do. You either liked the Bears or you hated them, but neither fan nor foe could take their eyes off of WP when he carried the ball. He was captivating on the field. I cried when he died in Nov. of '99.
And let's get to the unspoken truth for a lot of us football fans. There is just plain something fascinating about watching freakishly big people go after each other. These guys are just not big, they're freakishly big. I once read that Javon Kearse could easily palm a ruler. What? Palm a ruler?!?! Who doesn't want to see that??? I think deep down we all see ourselves as a middle linebacker who can take on anyone and anything. We root for David, but we still find ourselves fascinated by Goliath. Why? Freakishly big. I thought that everyone knew this except for the players themselves until I read a recent article in my Sports Illustrated (Yes, it comes in my name. Yes, I read it all, except the hockey stuff. Yes, I let Mark read it when I am done. No, we don't bring the swimsuit issue in this house.) where Brian Urlacher called all of us couch potatoes on it. He knows we want to see freakishly big people make freakishly big hits. WE just don't know how badly those hits hurt. I felt a little ashamed after I read that. I didn't know they knew.
But here it is - the bottom line for why I, and so many others I think, love (looooooooooooooove) football. On the surface it appears to be a game where the biggest and fastest win, but just as often, it is the team that works hardest, digs deepest, and has the most heart that pulls out a victory. We really do root for David. While I want to see myself as a middle linebacker, I realize that I am, in fact, 5'5" and not nearly freakishly big enough for some of what life throws at me. There is something...magical...about seeing heart beat size once in awhile.
So today, sweet August, you pro football playing gentlemen go out there to your training camps and work hard. I know that it is your job, and I know it is your body on the line, but somehow it is my spirit that benefits. May the best heart win.