If you know me, like really know me, you know that I don't like football. I'd rather put away laundry and clean the bathroom than watch a game. I don't understand the plays and I have no desire to figure it out. I don't participate in fantasy football although my husband is constantly in my ear about his team. Paradoxically I love football. I love sitting on the bleachers in the crisp fall air, hearing the thud of helmets hitting helmets, the whistle blowing, the crowd yelling Go D! I love it. I love the team work, the huddles, the spirit, the drive.
I grew up in a football family. My father played for St. Mary's as did my brother until the school closed which found him playing his senior year at Glens Falls and then playing center for Norwich University. My dad (and my mom too) was always there for my brother, holding the yard markers, helping the coaches, supportive as best he could but never in the overbearing kind of way. He was the gentle giant that stood quietly by but when necessary made his voice known. I vividly remember a picture of my dad clad in stonewashed jeans (it was 1989!) standing on the field at Norwich with my brother. The smiles and pride, the dreams and goals, the support and love are ever present in this moment frozen in time.
The torch has now been passed to my nephew who has played for the past 4 years. He's growing by leaps and bounds and that little guy running around with a huge helmet has been replaced with a tall and slender young man.
We went to Jacob's game today and at the end we went down on the field for high-fives. Luke extended his hand in awe of these real, live players. His mouth hung open as his eyes scanned them from helmet to cleat. And then he saw Jacob, it was as if he saw a star.
I wanted my father there. I could hear him laughing, I heard the pride bursting through the intense sunset, I saw his hand on Jake's shoulder, passing on the torch. I felt the loss as we remembered when Jacob first saw our cousin play at Union when he was merely Ellie's age.
I am so proud of this family. I want my nephew to see my father's yearbook, to see the lineage.
I want you to watch this. I know it's long, but take the time. And yes I'm going to say it, I am going to go all the way and get all cheesy and cliche on you:It's not just about football, it's about the way of life. Go build your team, get psyched and tackle your dreams whatever they may be.