It’s that time of year again when football is winding down. Soon, every Sunday we’ll flip to catch a football game that is absent. Like so many things in life, everything good must come to an end, sad as it is. In these moments that are tests of character let’s look to some role models, and worst case, grandpa.
Yes, I’m a Cowboys fan. Before the chorus of booing rains down (because, who cares?), the narrow-minded folks should know it’s not about football, it’s family. As a youngster, I remember sitting with my grandpa during the Cowboys games, rooting for the boys. The memories ended when I was five, but the love continues.
It’s only a game and it’ll always be only a game. The fun part is, I’ve grown great at losing. My time in pro sports has taught me that there is a lot more important stuff I’m going to lose. During life, we’ll lose loved ones, our health, and things that’ll make football seem like the simple game it is. Watching people belittle people over a silly game is, well, silly.
I don’t mind a playful jab here or there about the preference of my team.
The trouble is, when it goes too far, it’s not about football. It’s about fond family memories with my grandpa that ended way too soon.
“Lose a son or lose a game?”
This quote caught my eye after the Seattle Seahawks faced elimination from the playoffs. As I watched the players exit the field, I couldn’t notice how Seahawks’ Quarterback Russell Wilson was handling the defeat. He shook hands, smiled, congratulated the other team, and wished them well. It couldn’t have been any classier, despite the football fan next to me who erred in asking if “Wilson was crying yet.” I’ve never seen him be less than a stand-up guy.
As so much of the Twitter world told Russell he should “Stop pretending like it doesn’t hurt,” and that he should “Actually give a damn about something,” it made sense to see that Wilson was very realizing of a few facts.
It is only a game. No matter how hard you’re yelling at your screen now, it is only a game.
Life is way more about people than only a game. If this feels wrong, priorities are wrong as well.
Be thankful for the opportunity, because it won’t last.
Let’s also keep in mind that the players don’t fight like little children after a win or loss. Now, even if they did, it’s their passion and job. We, just watch. No matter how much we like to think we’re getting a ring, we’re not. Move on.
If somebody belittled us every time we were sub par at our work, we’d cry like infants. Some of us already do.
I sit and think during these games I love watching. I ponder what my grandpa would do. Sadly, I’ve been in rooms where things get thrown, people are swearing, children get belittled, and I’ve walked out of these situations on more than one occasion, taking my children with me. Now, I plan my viewing very carefully to avoid certain people. It’s even turned me against my hometown team, who was never a favorite of mine, although I used to root for them for my family.
The reason I am a fan of the team I am is because my grandfather picked me up, sat me on his lap, and watched a game with me.
He didn’t tell me to “Shut the (expletive) up” because the game was close.
He didn’t throw a tantrum because of “bad officials.” He never cleared a room because the game wasn’t going his way (and sadly I’ve seen all those). We watched football. He picked me up, sat me on his lap, and watched with me.
As my boys rallied down from a 21-3 halftime deficit, I couldn’t help but feel excited and anxious on the inside. On the outside, as non-Cowboy fans around me grew way too nervous, I remembered it was just a game. As someone told my son to “Shut up,” I picked him up and put him on my lap. It’s a moment I’ll never get again.
As the Packers kicked their game-winning field goal, it was a subtle reminder that everything good comes to an end. The days that follow are always a little tough. It’s not because football is over. It’s a reminder that these precious moments are not infinite. I might not get to watch another football game with my son. Who gives a damn if we win or lose? We’ll always have each other.