I think I will quit watching football. To be honest, Football and I were never that close. I watched football in high school because everyone watched football. Thinking back, I attended the games in high school. I did little watching except when my best friend went out to kick.
I attended a college without a football team, and that is quite an accomplishment in the south. I watched soccer, basketball, and even baseball a few times. The big rivalry football games of the state held little value to me. I did sit in on a few bowl games when hanging out with other friends. I attended exactly one “live” game in college – the Senior Bowl in 1989. It fulfilled my lifetime needs.
I married a college football fan, and found comfort in the fact that he preferred to go and watch with his buddies. I stayed out of the football fray until I landed a freelance writing gig that involved football.
Each week I had to create a unique column around the football program of one of the big schools in the state. Other writers came at it from technical angles, which worked for me since I had very little technical knowledge of the game. Although I did learn early on that yelling out “homerun” at a football game is not as funny to them as it was to me.
I researched the players and learned about who they were and what they did off of the field. I learned about the coaches and what they were teaching to make men and not just players. I became connected to the game because of the people.
I started watching – all of the games. I could tell you about the players (although I still did not get the technical side). Many men would love it – but it annoyed my husband. I still had no need to cheer for a team. I found players on all teams that I could get behind.
My interest began to lessen as people tore into Tim Tebow but continued to cheer on players that were breaking the rules (or had parents that were breaking the rules without their “knowledge”). The Heisman run and national playoff left me sick to my stomach. Remember, I have never cheered for teams. I get behind the integrity of the players.
There was not much to get behind.
It has gone downhill from there. I had hope, but it seems that some teams put football about the player. Bear Bryant said, “The biggest mistake coaches make is taking borderline cases and trying to save them. I’m not talking about grades now, I’m talking about character. I want to know before a boy enrolls about his home life, and what his parents want him to be.” Many coaches set out to create men – others set out to create wins.
Too many things have become about the moment. Too little is left to grow the heart, the mind, and the character of those involved. I need the hope and the positive and the uplifting. It is what drives me forward. I am leaving the mud to the others and letting football go.