As September comes around we inevitably turn to thoughts of cooler temperatures, holiday shopping and the most important item of all-football. I have only recently become a fan, motivated in part by my football coach husband, Gary, who puts God and family first-except during football season. There is nothing more amazing than seeing my easy going and laid back honey morph into into a raving banshee at the sight of running guys in assorted colored jerseys literally fighting over a much belabored pigskin.
My other motivation came from a real desire to find a way to connect with one of the few things my husband speaks on with a reverence generally found after folks have met the Dalai Lama, had a successful skydiving mission or found out Duck Dynasty has been renewed for another season (YEAH!!!).
I am big on finding connections in order to retain new information. If I can’t put it into a metaphor, funny story or acronym more than likely it will go through me like a running back going for the final score. Still, because I love my husband and he went to see the musical version of Les Miserables with me (or The Miserable Ones as he likes to call it) I felt compelled to enter this world of balldom where grown men have honest to God blowouts over the athletic prowess of other men whom they have never met yet will defend to the death.
But I’m a word geek, a quirky chick who is much more comfortable at lectures by obscure academics and writers, speaking on topics such as the overuse of the word nice than in an 80,000 fan plus stadium game in mid winter. How will I find our common ground?
I had the distinct honor of accompanying Gary a few years ago when he was inducted into the AFA Hall of Fame, with the ceremony held at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in recognition of his semi pro career as an offensive linesman for the Virginia Ravens, playing 13 years and winning several championships and such along the way. The NFL Hall has a section for semi pro athletes, who are a special group on their own. For most of them, the love of the game is what kept them-not endorsements, fancy trainers or big salaries. What I recall most clearly about that amazing weekend were the heartfelt outpourings from men who could probably push you over with a pinky finger, describing how the love of this sport meant so much to them. Through everything they experienced-pain, lost championships and frustration mixed with disappointment, they stay committed to the sport because of their undeniable passion and faith that this thing they love will bring desired outcomes–even if not now. And that goes for both players and fans.
From a mountain of rejection letters to the again no dice application submitted for a long sought after residency, we are in this writing game with no guarantee of how it’s gonna be. Yet, in true fan fashion we support and cheer with abandon and passion, even in the midst of the worst seasons ever. As players, we stay focused on our goals and ignore the naysayers who scoff at our best attempts to win. After all, you don’t have to know football to know a game without passion is already lost.
Why not go for the touchdown?