A guest post from Deborah.
There’s nothing quite like game day—the warm-up music blaring from the stadium, the freshly painted field, the swarms of team colors, and the anticipation of the battle that will soon commence.
I’ve never been on a football team l but I know a thing or two about football.
Besides watching any football game I have time for (and games I don’t), I’ve probably seen every football movie ever made. I’ve tutored, mentored, befriended, and dated football players who immersed me in football culture and taught me how to throw. Oh, and I even have a six-year streak of never missing a home game at my alma mater.
So here’s why I love football and why you should love it, too.
1. The Social Aspect
American Football provides a way to bond with family and friends and fellow fans as you shout cheers of joy, shed tears of sorrow, and scream in frustration together. (Remember the ref-pocalypse of 2012?) On the flipside, you also get to battle against rivals in your home, at the office, or in your fantasy league. And oh, the sweet taste of victory over that horrible schmuck in a neighboring cubicle, that’s priceless.
2. The Food
First, let’s talk about tailgating. Everyone should experience the smell of barbecue on a September Saturday with a college football game only a few hours away. Once you’re at the game, you’ve got to splurge sometimes on incredibly overpriced concessions. Get the pulled pork sandwich at Reliant Stadium, try Sawyer’s Street Frites during a Browns game, or snag a cupcake styled after the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch, complete with Skittles.
3. Super Bowl Sunday
While we’re on the topic of food, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t complete unless you have snacks on snacks on snacks. We’re talking wings, subs, fried chicken, tacos, quesadillas, those pizza roll things in those commercials, chips and dip, chips and salsa, chips and more chips. Besides the food, you get to enjoy the hopefully fierce competition between two teams vying for the ultimate post-season W. And even if you’re not a die-hard fan, it’s an excuse to get together with friends.
4. The Game Itself
There’s something wonderful about the game itself—whether it’s pee-wee, high school, intramural, college, pro, arena, fantasy, touch, flag, or tackle football. I’m sure my competitive personality contributes a lot, but I can’t help but get excited about a matchup between two teams of competent players and coaches doing what they love. From the nosebleeds, it can look like a bunch of bulky guys running around wearing helmets and pushing each other as they try to get an inflated leather ball (sometimes underinflated, see: #deflategate) into a specific rectangle at the end of the field. But really, it’s a competition filled with principles of strategy, playmaking, improvisation, agility, and endurance. And let’s be real, it’s a bunch of super athletic men being super athletic.
5. The Ups and Downs
I love the potential at the beginning of each season and each game. When the clock starts running, anything is possible. The football season is full of devotion and defeat, rivalry and redemption, camaraderie and comebacks—all in the name of a win worthy of a Powerade-dumping and post-season appearance to prove your domination.
6. The Life Lessons
Participating in sports in whatever capacity can help us glean important life lessons. For instance, football is a meritocracy, which teaches us that race doesn’t matter. Football teaches us how to tackle (pun intended) the game of life—with patience, strategy, teamwork, and diligence. Like the story of Vince Papale as told in Invincible, we shouldn’t avoid the hard hits in life, but take them and then get up. Through football we learn to be devoted to our teams and players through the nail-biters, the depressing upsets, and glorious triumphs. We learn to work both smarter and harder. We learn the importance of integrity, loyalty, and sacrifice. And we learn how to lay our hearts on the line and play with everything we’ve got until the whistle blows.