Dr. football , Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the game.

Captive Siberian tigers play-fighting

When I was a youngin I didn’t really care for all the screaming and yelling that went on with Bronco Sunday.  We weren’t Christians, as a family, and really, our religion, if there was one, was football.  So I kinda had a mad on for football for a long, Long time.  I even went to Ohio State , where in Columbus if you are not a football fan you may as well just Move.   Now that I’m not there (thanks be to God) I can appreciate the culture, from afar, a very very far.  Never was cut out to be a Buckeye.

Anyhow, as I’ve gotten older, traveled and lived all over the world, I have come to really appreciate the football season.  And expecially college football season.  Having children, especially a boy has been the game changer I think.  Not to mention of course being married to a native Alabama man and born and raised Bama fanatic.

When our son came I realized that I really want him to love and appreciate football as much as we do.  Not just because it’s the most fun you can have on a Saturday in the Fall, but because there is something, many things special about this game.  I want to flesh those things out for myself and for anyone else interested in Why!? you would ever want to watch a single game with your football loving husband.

Comaradery.  There is just a feeling, maybe inexplicable feeling you get from knowing gameday is here.  It’s like waking up on Christmas morning in October with an unknown present coming.  [Especially if you’re an Alabama fan].  But, only you and millions of other fans are in on the gifting.  You get to come together with all kinds of folks for good, clean competition.  And, this is especially why I love College Football because it’s not the NFL, players are still young and impressionable and learning who they are on and off the field.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that there aren’t big money issues in College ball, too, but still, it’s not the NFL where players are paid gajillions.  That, however is another post entirely my friendly readers.

Americana.  When I was living abroad, one of the things I would miss the most in the Fall was American Football.  It defines us as a nation, whether we like it or not, it’s Our sport.  I began to get homesick living in Korea for my friends and I hanging out in front of the tv watching a game, drinking something cold and eating all kinds of gameday food.  I guess I’m just a ‘Merican at heart.

Team.  I have always found team play really important.  Which is odd considering my personal choice of sports: Tennis and cycling.  Ha!  Those two sports are all about me, me, me.  Looking back I wish I had gone out for the girl’s soccer team, just to be part of a team sport.  And now as a Mom, I really am hoping that our kids get the chance to play, learn and enjoy team sports.  They are character building and enjoyable for so many reasons.

Roughhousing. One of the main reasons I think football in particular as a team sport is great, is because of the idea of roughhousing and learning our  inner and outer strengths.  Playing rough is one of God’s great gifts to human kind, to all animals, and it teaches us trust in ourselves, our bodies and in others.  Especially if we were allowed to roughhouse as kids.  It is practice for the real world for animals, but on many levels for us too. We learn boundaries and how to exceed them, if and where possible, and we learn about the magnificent gifts God has bestowed on us in play, through excertion of our physical bodies, through laughter and frustration, we learn, grow and get stronger.  We learn that we can overcome.  Here’s Mandisa’s gorgeous song and tear jerking video(I’m 3 for 3 in crying while viewing):

Manliness.  I believe it’s extremely important, especially today to define our gender roles.  It is essential for a boy to know that it is not only OKAY to be a boy, but to Act like a boy.  Boys are generally bigger and stronger than girls and it’s important for them to have positive, healthy outlets for being boys.  They are our future Men; future husbands, fathers, military, priests, builders, caretakers.  I want our son to know that he can be himself in a world that may not want Manliness to exist at all.  Men are an amazing, beautiful strength and gift to the human race, I would like for that to be the case forever.  And, in something as simple as playing football, they can learn skills that will carry them into Manhood with grace and love and understanding of proper roles as a beautiful thing, not something to hide or be ashamed of.

Coaching.  This is an amazing gift, this thing called coaching. It’s not parenting, but it is, it’s not teaching, but it totally is, it’s not anything short of helping a person excel at his or her own personal gifts.  I have had the privilege of knowing some wonderful coaches; people who really cared about their teams and sacrificed their own time to help kids get better and be better, on and off the field, or choir room, or theatre stage, or ninjutsu mat.

So these are some reasons I will always root for my team, try to be the best coach a kid can ask for in a parent and pray for players and coaches. And I pray that my kids have as good a coach as Peter Mussett or Nick Saban or Rhonda Fossum or Mary Stevens.  Roll Tide. PPS Coach, please don’t leave Alabama until Blaise can play for you!

Love, Vic.

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