USA TODAY Bestselling Author
I’m a woman and stereotypes say that I should love seasons with names like Spring, Summer, and Fall. Football I tell you. Football is my favorite season.
Tonight’s game in New Orleans marks the beginning of a new NFL Champion and the end to my favored season. Admittedly, I dab at my eyes when ESPN plays their highlight reel with all the season’s biggest plays: the huge upsets, the triumphs, the passion, and raw emotion.
Though my affection for football encompasses most teams every Sunday (and Monday and now Thursday), I’m a lifetime Dolphin fan. The ’72 Dolphins made football history, though it’s the December 16, 2007 game that is forever cemented in my brain. The Dolphins were winless against the Ravens. A pass to Greg Camarillo on a 3rd and 8 put an end to our shameful deficit. It was our Super Bowl.
We grew up in a house where life lessons centered on sports. Camaraderie came down to sportsmanship, tossing a football a forum for sharing. Coach was our mother, and respect and discipline came down to her signals and calls. Sometimes they were obvious. A yellow flag was a swift punishment. Other times we gleaned lessons from our position on the team. We may never grow up to be professional players, but we are groomed to be the best we can be. Through football, we learn compassion for our teammates, perseverance in the face of adversity, accountability for our actions, the harsh sting of a loss, and the warm glow of victory.
Tonight’s Super Bowl is approaching halftime. I am grappling with how to walk the dog without missing a play, a commercial, or Beyonce’s symphonic voice. The Harbaugh parents are watching from their seats as their esteemed sons are competing in a dual that will end with one of their offspring beaming and the other…well…we won’t go there. Those who claim the proud parents should merely be pleased to have two sons in a Super Bowl have no idea the magnitude of sibling rivalry played out in dramatic fashion before millions of viewers worldwide. I have twin sons. No matter how proud that moment, nothing will take away the seismic tremor of one boy’s suffering.
Indeed, football is a lot more than abnormally large men in protective gear chasing a ball from goal to goal. There are stories behind every soldier, uplifting tales of overcoming strife and beating the odds. Even if you’re not a fan, the tales will compel you to root for a team you hate and cheer on a unknown player after watching a three-hanky episode of E:60.
So it is no wonder that I am rooting for a Ravens football team with numerous ties to the University of Miami Hurricanes. It was the steely Ravens who gave our Dolphins their one win in a season drowning in losses. Karma breathes down the necks of these burly players. Football is far more than a sport. It’s a life lesson shared by fans and friends all over the world. There is always a lesson to be learned; there is always a reaction to someone else’s action.
Perhaps the untimely blackout is our collective wish to prolong our favorite season. At least we can all go walk our dogs.