Saturday, September 26, 2009

A very uncharacteristic post, indeed.

FireDaddy announced today, "I'm done with NFL."


I'm thrilled that he has come around to my way of thinking.

First of all, I really don't give two cents about sports, overall. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against sports. They teach kids a lot of valuable skills, they keep teens off the streets and in school, and they are great for building community. But, they're not "my thing".

That is, with the exception of Gator Football.

Glory be, I love the Gators!

I've never been able to get behind any professional teams, especially on a long-term basis. There was the time (this is where I age myself) when the Magic was in the finals and it was, coincidentally, my Senior year in high school. The entire town of Orlando was on fire with their love for the Magic. Shaquille O'Neal had a sister that attended my high school and was in my graduating class. (In fact, Shaquille and I shared the stage momentarily at my graduation, but that's another post...) It was like sacrilege to NOT pull for the Magic. So, I watched the games a little with my Daddy and wrote "The Magic and Me are Winning!" in white shoe polish on the rear window of my little red Mustang. (By the way, I was completely aware that this was grammatically incorrect. I liked the alliteration, OK? And, I thought "Magic and Me" sounded a lot like "Magic IN Me"...I enjoyed taking literary privileges even then.)

Then there was the brief period of time I was a "die-hard" Jaguars fan. I was new to the Jacksonville area. My father-in-law had season tickets and we enjoyed frequenting games with Club Seats. (The ONLY way to experience NFL, if you ask me.) But, after spending a little time in the stands, I quickly realized that the atmosphere in an NFL stadium is nothing like the atmosphere in the Swamp...or any college football stadium, for that matter.

It's a matter of heart. And, it's a matter of money.

I am completely turned off by the monetary motivations behind all things NFL. It's too commercial and that makes it a bit trashy to me. (Here's where I get tacky...) I do not enjoy sitting in stands with middle-aged, overweight, drunken men. I do not enjoy watching adult men report to work on a football field. Personally, I cannot summon loyalty for a team that will drop it all and leave for a few more bucks, especially when they're already making quite a few bucks to begin with.

What I DO enjoy, is singing songs and screaming your heart out on the sidelines of a game filled with passion, tradition, and youth. I love the "your life on the line" feeling the players and fans still feel - even when the game is a given. I love their commitment and drive, even if it does cause them to do stupid things like play football while they have the flu. I love the intense rivalry between foes, especially when they're fun-loving and good-humored about it. (Which, unfortunately, isn't all of them...) That is something I can get behind.

I'll never forget watching the 1996 National Championship game from my parents' couch. I was SO worked up, anxious, and tense my Daddy told me I should take a walk! "Go run around the block!" he laughed.

Last year, my parents, FireDaddy, the girlies and I all watched Florida play in the SEC Championship game from my den. Earlier in the day, BigGirl had danced at a holiday recital. We left as early as possible to rush home and support The Boys from Old Florida. Together, we shared that same sense of urgency and nervous tension. I saw myself in BigGirl's eyes as she bit her lip and pleaded for a win. We broke out good luck pillows and t-shirts; we cheered loud enough to be heard through the television. It was definitely a win we'll remember for a long time to come.

Today, BigGirl and I showed our pride and decked ourselves out in our Gator Girl gear. As we drove down the road, I overheard BabyGirl in the backseat announce to BigGirl, "I SEE GO GATORS!!!" The car beside us proudly flew a Florida flag. Their subsequent conversation was brief, yet adorable. They squealed their delight and sang a quick little cheer.

I know some NFL teams have heart. I know some NFL fans have die-hard loyalty. But, I believe, it's fewer than those without. Blackouts, contracts, criminal players - they've ruined it. And, quite honestly, I wouldn't mind if they go bankrupt. All of them.

Glitterized by

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