The National Football League is currently promoting a contest called, “Together We Make Football,” where fans are encouraged to share their stories about why they love football, in videos and essays. There will be five winners who will each be given a prize package as the “ultimate Super Bowl experience.” Yesterday I wrote my own entry to the contest.
I’m not expecting to be among the winners, I just enjoyed writing the essay, so since it will likely fall into obscurity in the contest I thought I’d post it here:
Why I Love Football
Football makes life feel “normal” — it’s my connection to my dad since he passed away, and it helped me cope with my mother’s passing.
My father was a huge football fan, and I’m sorry to say I hadn’t yet fallen in love with football when he was alive; I regret that there were so many games we could have enjoyed together. A couple of years after his passing, my daughter, then 12 at the time, became interested in college football and we began watching the games together. The college season is short, however, so when it ended we switched to NFL football, watching the Tampa Bay Bucs as they were becoming a defensive powerhouse.
At that time, John Madden was a commentator and at various points during the pregame programming he would go to a marker board and explain plays and strategy, and then would explain terms and calls and plays during the game. I paid close attention and learned everything I knew about football at that time from him.
I became enthralled with the strategy of the game and my heart began to soar with long field goals and Hail Mary throws. I loved the art and beauty of football and became an avid fan. I became involved in learning about the players and felt I almost knew them personally. During the games I drew up my own plays, seeing if I could guess the coaches’ next ideas, and oftentimes I was right on the money. I began to dream that if I was younger I’d want to become the first female offensive coordinator or, at the very least, a football sportswriter.
Sunday football gave a stability to my weeks; when my mother passed away and I felt so bereft it was the normalcy of Sunday football that helped bring me back from my despair, and I was grateful.
I loved the Tampa Bay Bucs wholeheartedly and cried when I moved from Florida to Oregon three years ago, knowing I’d seldom see them again. Now that I was in Seahawks territory I tried to form an emotional connection with the team, but failed my first two years here. However, toward the end of last season Russell Wilson’s excellent QB play began to stir me and I made more of an effort to get into the spirit of being part of the “12’s.” I was finally able to feel connected with them and am now a die-hard Seahawks fan.
Thank you, NFL; you have enhanced my life in countless ways and Sundays during football season are always the best.