In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

An Outsiders ponderings on Football

OK, I'll admit it, I never really "got" football.

I grew up in a home where football never graced the screen of our TV. I have 2 older sisters, and a dad who enjoyed playing baseball with us, but who thought professional athletes were paid too much so he never watched sports on TV. In high school I attended football games as a social event and garnered just an inkling of what the game was about.

Fast forward several years later, a new marriage to a man who totally adores watching football, and life in a small town where everyone is into the one local high school and their football success. Add to this the fact that my 2 younger sons have started playing football and one of them even dreams of obtaining a football scholarship to college.

So now I'm immersed in football and this experience has caused me to notice some things.

Have you ever noticed that Football is about way more than the game?

It's as if there is this fraternity of football fans & players, past and present, that creates an entire culture. My husband watches these 4 guys who commentate on football during the half times (they analyze NFL football teams, their chances of success, who did what well or poorly); my beloved one actually acts like these guys are his pals and says things like "oh Terry has such a good sense of humor; he's such a crack up". Fans, people whom I'll assume have normal day jobs, not only wear team colors to the games but actually paint their faces/bodies to represent the teams they adore. People talk about "their teams" as if these are people they know, love, and support through the good and bad times (I mean, many of these folks could apply the same interest level, devotion and support to their spouses and have the best marriages imaginable).

Have you ever noticed that football is one venue in American culture where males can still be unashamedly, totally, "male"?

In a culture where schools have become overwhelmingly PC and where high levels of activity and competitiveness are considered bad things - football is one place where boys can still be aggressive, competitive, and get dirty and it's considered not only OK but good.

A couple of years ago when my youngest son was in Pee Wee football (our first foray into this strange football world) his coach gave away T-shirts to each team member. Each T-shirt has a slogan on the shirt. One of the shirts said "mean and nasty". I remember feeling relieved that my son didn't get such a shirt, only to be surprised when he expressed great disappointment on the way home that he didn't get the best shirt - the "mean and nasty" one.

My two younger sons who play football actually brag about what "beasts" they are, how much weight they can lift and how much weight they've gained. Bragging about weight gain is truly a concept way beyond my comprehension.

Have you ever noticed that players on a football team experience a bond that as deep, if not deeper, than family?

For college and NFL teams, this bond even seems to extend to some of the die hard fans. Watch these games, and you'll see that when a guy gets a touch down he actually goes and jumps up against the wall where the fans are seated so that the fans can gather around and give him some love for the feat he's just accomplished.

These guys are committed to one another. During these last 3 years of my sons playing high school football I've observed that these kids are highly committed to practicing together, helping each other out when they were having problems and even share meals. My sons practiced all the time during the season; even on Thanksgiving day. It didn't matter how tired they or their team mates were, or even if they were slightly sick, they always gave their all and were there for each other. When one of the team wasn't doing well in math so he had to take it in summer school, my youngest son didn't hesitate to step up and provide individual instruction to him after summer school each day to help him through the class. My middle son is a offensive guard (I feel so proud of myself that I actually know the name of a position), and the parents of the offensive line traded off feeding all the boys once a week throughout the season.

It's as if football is not just some sport they play - it's their life and everything revolves around it. For both players and fans.

It's odd for me that I lived my entire life up until 3 years ago, without anything to do with football. Then, during these last few years, I've come to experience all these interesting aspects to football and the culture.

What about you, what are your experiences with Football?


Michelle said...

Oh dear, Tracy! Football...I'm from Tennessee and our blood runs orange! LOL.

Football is HUGE in the south. I know enough to make it seem I know what I'm talking about. I LOVE Football season because it means fall festivals and cold nights bundled up at football games. It means football parties with good food and great friends.

We've turned our cable or satellite off like three times to save $$ and it must always come back on in the fall for college football. My husbands a fanatic and I just like the spirit of it. My experience with football goes like this... Didn't watch a lot growing up just here and there. My dad was a NASCAR fan. And then it comes to this...I knew before my husband did yesterday that Urban Meyer had resigned as Florida's headcoach and now I know he says it's an "indefinite leave of absence the next day." Why is it really necessary for me to know that? Just because I'm from TN it's in my blood!

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

We were a totally non-football family growing up. My mother eventually took an interest, so we began watching. I have a passing interest, but there is a definate divide between guys who are totally into it, and those who are casual in their interest.

RCUBEs said...

Not a sport fanatic...But I understand the game a little bit. I was just talking about it with my hubby and I was telling him that it's almost New Year and that's when they'll have the Rosebowl parade, which means football too along with it! Blessings to you sister and thank you for your prayers. Glory to God for answered prayers.

John said...

Do you want more interesting?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not contacted former NFL Draft coach Bill Cowher about possibly coaching the team in 2010, according to a source close to the team's owners.
An NFL report said team officials contacted Cowher.
"That's not true," a source with knowledge of the Glazer family's intentions told the Tampa Tribune. "That's just people speculating."
According to a story by An NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, Bucs officials reached out to Cowher to gauge his interest in possibly coaching the team in 2010. The story cited "a source with knowledge of the situation."

photogr said...

Football= Some thing a NASCAR fanatic will turn to after a boring 2009 season of the Jimmie and Chad show. At least in Football you don't have to turn left all the time and the games are actually exciting.

JD Curtis said...

One thing I can tell you about football is that it is a "team" effort. 11 individuals working together for a common purpose. It's unlike baseball this way because in baseball, a guy can individually hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning and win the game.

Another difference with football and other sports. Let's say you are a football player and your team is losing by a touchdown and it's getting late in the game. Your team doesnt have the ball and time is running out. Through the determined effort of 'knocking the living snot' out of someone on the opposing team who his carrying the ball, one can cause a turnover and get the ball for your team (through forcing a fumble) and affect the outcome.

Try to remember Tracy, that the entire game is divided into downs. If you can understand how that works, the rest is easy. I found a link that helps explain these and other terms and strategies.

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