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Creating a monster

I am a huge football fan.  I bleed green & gold.  I put on my jersey every Sunday morning, I search for nail polish to match my team colors and I am in the early planning stages for my Green Bay tattoo.  I’ve probably been a fan my whole life, right?  Nope.

Growing up with no brothers and a father who wasn’t interested in sports, I never cared about any sports.  I was in the marching band in high school, so I went to all the football games, but I certainly didn’t watch any of them.  I was just there for halftime and the stunningly delicious nachos from the snack bar.

Then I married a football fan.  In the early years, he caught the occasional game on Sundays and I suffered through the Super Bowl every year.  It bored me, I didn’t know the rules, I had no idea what was going on and I really didn’t care.  I was the wife who thought up creative chores for Sunday afternoons (hey, let’s replace all the curtains, then scrub the floors with a toothbrush!)  Oh, the shame.

Cue Super Bowl XXXI.  My husband and I had quiet plans, just he and I, watching the game.  I decided to give it a shot.  He was rooting for the Patriots, so in the interest of friendly competition, I decided to pull for the Packers.  What a game that was!  I know I had to be the most annoying person ever, interrupting every play with questions.  Why did he do that?  What does that mean?  And of course, the concept of football that took me a really remarkable amount of time to grasp… What the hell are downs and how do they work?!

Bless him, he answered all my questions with patience and clarity, even when I asked the same thing over and over (fourth down?  what does that mean?).  Of course, there was a lot at stake for him, too.  He tells me stories now of talking football at work with guys who missed most of the game because their wives needed them to do something else (curtains, anyone?).  So now, not only do I get to watch football all Sunday, Monday night and sometimes Thursday, but I also get to be the cool football wife to my hubby’s coworkers.  (It’s not much, but I take it where I can get it).

Many years of casual fan-dom led to our inevitable NFL Sunday Ticket auto-renewal every year.  Sunday is not just Sunday during football season.  Sunday is football day and we will watch football and talk football and eat football food.  If your chores are not done on Saturday, they are not getting done, my friend.  Sunday mornings mean coffee and fantasy strategy.  Our family discusses player issues during dinner, we smack talk at all times, and just last season, I was torn between my love of my team and my motherly duties as the Green Bay Packers brought the Super Bowl smack down on my son’s beloved Steelers. (I did manage to be graceful.  Motherhood won the ugly battle in my head.)

Husbands, wives, mothers and fathers… it is possible to create a football fan, so get to work.  Get that game on and be ready to explain the rules.  Over and over again.  My daughter is guaranteed to ask at least once a week for clarification on downs.  It’s genetic.  (But seriously, why don’t they just call them “tries”?)  Be careful what you wish for, though, because you may create a football monster.  Apparently, the biggest challenge is getting your new fan to pull for the correct team.  My family is too contrary for such things, so we fight over which game to watch and I say a silent football prayer that at least one of my children will see the green & gold light. 

While we may be on opposite sides of the ball, at least we’re all watching.  Is football insignificant in the face of the tough times in the real world?  C’mon man.  Everyone needs something to cheer for.

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