Thursday, September 13, 2012

top 5 best things ever: football

I love football season.

I love love love football season.

It's my favorite season of the entire year, I mean, even moreso than autumn and that says a lot. This crazy schedule that technically spans three seasons, it makes my entire life happy.

The rest of the year, it's almost as if I trick myself into forgetting about it so that I won't waste days and weeks away only looking forward to it. Hockey can fill the void, sometimes even baseball does the job.

But there is nothing, nothing at all, on God's green earth that tops football.

I grew up watching football with Dad and Tommy. I didn't understand it very well for a long time, but it was exciting and fun and why not because I liked spending time with them. I learned to grab MGDs from the fridge, and how to open them before I handed them off to Dad. Eventually we started to do win-lose picks in the newspaper, spread out on a Sunday morning on the wooden table in the breakfast room, and Dad would always do his last so that we wouldn't copy him. I've picked up on a little more since then. I do my own picks and I copy the entire season's schedule into my planner and take furious notes every week, marking off the final tally in big, circled numbers. There are still rules I don't know, plays I can't call, and players whose names I can't remember, but none of that changes how much I love this sport.

I love the people. I love the togetherness, laughter, tradition. I love the food and all the beer. I love the excitement and the frustration and the anger. I love the announcers I love to hate. I love the tight ends. (Yes, I said it.) I love the furious text messages with friends and foes alike, the trash talk, the yelling at the TV, and the pride. I love my jersey, and the superstition, and the stories. 

I love spending an entire Sunday with friends watching the games. I love being out at a bar, surrounded by all the games on all the TVs, a crayon box of jerseys all around, hollering and drinking beer. I love being at home, having friends and friends of friends over, making food and ordering wings, yelling at the game and arguing over the remote to switch over for a score update. I love the chills that infect my skin when the ball is in the air, the hunch of my shoulders when a player gets crunched on the field, and the pure celebration of marking down a "W."

I love that I finally felt comfortable enough to take the jump into fantasy football. I love the Internet for introducing me to my fantasy league, and to The League. I love that I can call home and Dad and Tommy will argue draft strategy with me on the phone for twenty minutes. I love having people in my life who are ready and willing to talk football and fantasy at the drop of a hat. 

I love that my friends know I love football, and react accordingly. I love that my roommates put up with me screaming at the Giants in our living room. I love that Eagles fans and Redskins fans trash-talk me over text. I love the talk about games on Facebook, among family across the country, and the screaming phone calls that happen later in the season. I love that some of y'all know not to ask me to do anything on Sunday afternoons, and others of you will invite me out to a bar or your house just to watch a game and hang out. 

I love that football has become a relationship-defining matter for me. After spending nearly two entire football seasons with someone who hates football, someone who I had to convince to go over to my parents' house to watch the Super Bowl, in which my team was playing, someone who ignored superstition and washed my jersey during the post-season, someone who hated watching the games at all, I'm happy to say that I have learned my damn lesson and I now know my priorities. This is quite possibility the best time of my life to spend an entire day watching men tackle each other on a big field, and it's part of me and who I am and what I love, and whoever I spend my time with needs to not only heed this, but also appreciate it. So if a guy likes football? Check. If he likes football as much as I do? Check check. If he can trash-talk me into the ground and in the next breath give me a kiss when I hand him a beer? Excellent. This may well be worth my time.

Football season is easily on my Top 5 Best Things Ever, and I'm happy that I have a cultivated a life, and friendships, that not only support this love but also nurture it.

Also? This is going to be the year I actually go to a game. 

... I'm not entirely sure how yet, but it's going to happen.

Yeah, football!


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