I love football.
No, really. It’s a game I really love. I’ve skipped church for it; I’ve cut phone calls short because of it. I once held back my bladder's natural urges for nearly an entire half because the game was not worth leaving (but that was before TiVo).
I never played it, though, except in backyards. And I still have a hard time with some of the football-ese. But the grit, determination, and perseverance it requires to win a game in the NFL or even in the college ranks is amazing. You can’t just show up and win. You need to prepare, practice, and execute. <donald-miller-mode>It’s a metaphor for life, really.</donald-miller-mode>
Because of my admiration for this game, I can instantly connect with any other football geek/fantasy football player if ever our paths meet. Start with the ice breaker, “So who went first in your draft?” and I’ve got a friend for life.
Sometimes, though, even I can’t take some of the goofiness. The rest of this is an open letter to that guy at the pub who was constantly using first person plural pronouns when referring to the Seahawks:
Hey, dude. You’re a pretty excited fan, huh? Yeah, the team looks pretty good this year. Hope those receivers can hold up. Yup, the first game is at Detroit. I’ll put 5 bucks on that, sure, even though the Lions are starting Kitna.
Oh, what was that? Did you say “we”? “We drove down and scored...”? “We pulled that game out at the end...”? “And when we went to the Super Bowl...”?
You own season tickets, huh? Oh, right... your dad does... riiiiight. So I can see that this game is important to you. You get excited, you cheer the team on, you rejoice when they score, you complain when something goes wrong. Cool. Do that. All that.
But, dude... Puh-lease. You don’t play. You don't coach. You don't clean out the lockers of the cut players. You don’t get tackled, you don’t commit penalties, you don’t score touchdowns. You watch. You. Don’t. Play.
Do not think for one minute that you can assume that you’re part of the team. The city doesn’t own the team, your daddy doesn’t own the team, and you don’t know any of the players. Hasselbeck does not send you Christmas cards. You don’t go to church with Alexander. You didn’t even send flowers to Jackson after his last surgery. You are an outsider. A stranger. They don’t know you. And if it weren’t for your credit card, the team wouldn’t care about you.
They are them. You are you. “We” is a term best left to Green Bay Packer fan. If you continue to use it injudiciously, the next thing you know you’re going to blame the refs, the other team, and/or the other team’s public address announcer for the crummy things that your stinky team commits on or off the field.
So here’s your charge in a nutshell: Don’t act like you’re from Wisconsin.
And if you are, Bummer. We all have our own cross to bear.