Ladies and Gentlemen….Children of All Ages….Football is back. The real NFL season started last night, and that makes me happy. I am claiming the start of the NFL season as a birthday present to my big brother that he is letting me share. (Thanks, Edward...and have a Happy Birthday.)
Years ago I was like a lot of American men, wasting away the pre-work morning watching SportsCenter. It didn’t matter if ESPN’s only highlights were from a Kiwana’s Donkey Basketball Game in Muscle Shoals, sports was the glue that held together the X and Y chromosomes that made me a man.
However, with the passage of time I just started caring less and less. Millionaires on strike…. one brawl after another… corrupt officiating… the firing and retirement of my true heroes…. somehow I eventually gave up on all spectator sports except the Indianapolis Colts and Notre Dame Football. Believe it or not, I haven’t missed any of it.
My life went from one where Coach Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers were a significant priority to one where I haven’t watched a college basketball game in several years. Even the dogs have enjoyed the mellower atmosphere associated with the reprioritization of my life. (Abby did not always like dressing up for games.)
Still, all of the energy that in the past was divided among the Cubs, Pacers, Hoosiers, and Maple Leafs was added to the love I have had for the Colts for the last 20+ years.
And last night officially started another season of the only professional sport I care about. Still, I am a very snobbish fan. I won’t watch the NFL just for the sake of watching football. I am a Colts fan. I watched part of last night’s game only because it featured Eli Manning, and most of us Colts fans have adopted Peyton’s little brother and his Giants as our NFC team of choice.
It has been a long wait since February, but “next year” is finally here. Part of me hates the off season. I hate having to wait for September to watch the team that means so much to me. Yet, sometimes it helps to have a pause or separation. Seven months away from the Colts is enough to make me eager for the start of the season. I cannot imagine what it would be like if I felt this way about the America’s Cup or Olympic Bobsledding. It would be hell to wait years for the return of my favorite sport.
On a personal note, I am glad school breaks are only for the summer. If my scholastic breaks had been 4 years instead of 3 months I don’t think I would have ever gone back for my sophomore year…let alone graduate. Perhaps that summarizes the difference between how we humans sometimes incorrectly view sports versus education. FIFA World Cup can get by with a tournament every four years, and the passion will always be fever pitched. However, it is a very rare student who could take 4+ years off and return to complete what they had started. Also, students typically get paid a lot less (with very few product endorsement deals), but that is a different rant.