most of my blogs tackle the deep brain stuff in heathers world, so this will be a nice change of pace. i'm going to talk about football. before i go into the preface, i'll tell you why i'm writing about this. Elbert Starks. Elbert and I go back to freshman year biology class, he was best friends with the best pair of buns in the class and we stayed friends even when my obsession with those buns subsided. Elbert is a professional writer and had a strong sports focus for many years and spends a fair amount of time commenting on sports on his facebook. I'm writing about sports from a completely different perspective, but this post, is for Elbert. (that sounded like a preface, but it was a preface to the preface).
preface: i started watching sports 4 years ago. this is my 4th season as a football fan. i grew up in a hippy dippy liberal household. my dad played acoustic guitar in bars. he was an avid participant in all forms of theatre. sports were so . . base. there is nothing cultured about sports. my ex husband was into music and history and pbs. sure sometimes he'd put a game on, but i can count on one hand in 12 years together that we watched football. i had a scathing view of sports. in kids sports the parents and coaches pushed the kids too hard. the screaming and yelling and demand to win. i didn't want that for my children. at the college level sports were more important than an education. awful! and you really didnt want to get me started on professional sports with their bloated egos, inflated salaries and their inexcusable behavior both on and off the field, court, rink . . .. . and so i spent the first couple decades of my life being proudly highbrow, anti sports, looking down my nose at your team colors and dreading football season and your incessant posting about your team. and i guarantee you know someone who is JUST like that ....
so i met my current partner and he was an avid sports fan. and i made it pretty damn clear he had a choice to make. sports, or me. well i won of course because you know, we found other ways to occupy our time and life was good. a year into our relationship i was feeling bad about this massive cut he had made in his life, and while it didnt seem to bother him to not be watching football, one rainy sunday i put the game on for him and settled into nap time. about 1.5 hours later chris is snoring away and i'm laying there yelling at the tv. VERY QUIETLY. uh oh. i'm not only paying attention, i'm actually enjoying this....
i spent my first season in denial but chris loved telling his family i was a newly hatched football fan. year two chris's dad bought me my first (and only) piece of official NFL merchandise, my Colts sweatshirt... i was conflicted. on one hand, i was really enjoying this. on the other, i was mortified. i was one of THOSE people. because its my nature, i really had to take a hard look at this thing and figure it out. what was it that really captured me? and i'll be honest. it was Peyton Manning. once i had a better understanding of the game, i started to really grasp what captivated me about Peyton. watching him quarterback was like a ballet of movement. it was orchestrated and executed as delicately and exactly as a prima ballerina. now i know right now, some of you are slack jawed. but i'm telling you, the man is amazing. as i continued to understand the game, the plays, i became even more enthralled with the colts. yes, i was a "fan" because they are my home team. but watching how they conducted themselves on the field is what made me fall in love. they dont showboat. they dont send their hands high thanking god for their touchdown. they are paid to do a job, and they do it. i started to build a healthy respect for the coaching, the players and even the fans.
soon i was watching more than just the colts games. and i developed what some would call a complicated system for which teams i rooted for. i'm always going to root for the underdog. whoever is most likely to not win the game is going to be the first person i cheered for. i spent a lot of time cheering on the lions, the bills, the browns. i cheered on the steelers because some of my good friends are fans and i wanted them to be happy. the packers have a soft spot in my heart. they were Statttons team. i still have his packers shirt and wear it often. i'll always have a love for the green and yellow. there were teams i rooted against for sometimes good reasons and sometimes just because i'm heather. i'll always root against the broncos. i worked with a couple a few years back and he was a big broncos fan. and i loathed him (yes, you davin). i'm also not a huge fan of tim tebow so it works out well (tho i did watch his story and i'd like him if he and his mother hadn't done that abysmal anti abortion ad, but that is another blog). I never liked the eagles, but once they brought Mike Vick in I had to go extreme in my hatred. I can not root on a human who treated animals that way. and yes, i know all the horrible things other players have allegedly done, but he did do it and if you have any compassion in your soul you will relish watching him get his clocked cleaned week after week till that wussy leaves the game. (sorry elbert)
I'll always root against the patriots because tom brady cheated on his wife with a supermodel. so tacky. I dont like Drew Brees and I dont know why, he just annoys me. and i hate black and gold so they are always on my cheer against roster. Last on my root against list are the bears. mostly because i cant stand when people say "da bears" and i dont like blue and orange and jay cutler is a BABY. (sorry jen, i know you love them) however, if the bears play any of the above teams then i root for the bears.
so once i've rooted for the underdog, rooted against the teams i dont like, sometimes we are simply down to little things. like i loved the chargers because of darren sproles, but now he's with the eagles . . . i prefer the chargers colors to say, the falcons so the last resort is going by colors i like, or nostalgia factor (dolphins). (tho with the way the dolphins are playing this year they are going to get sympathy cheering).
now. the MAIN thing i wanted to address here (and yes, i got a little side tracked) is the whole FAN thing. see, for those of you who dont follow football, peyton is out this season. in fact, i'm not sure we will see peyton play qb again. and i guess there is this whole band wagon factor that people get pissy about. because the colts havent always been here, it took awhile for them to develop a fan base. this seemed to happen once they became GOOD. i guess fans wanted to cheer on a WINNING team. crazy huh? so people defected from other teams and became colts fans and were thus referred to as "band wagon" ers. now that they are having, what looks to be a challenging season, some people are assuming that colts fans will, you know, not be colts fans. now this may be true of some people. by nature americans are finicky and their need for instant gratification is pretty high. but i think a true fan, will always be a true fan. for the love of the team and the sport. i may have fallen in love with the colts because of peyton, but i'm not a colts fan just because of him. as long as they continue to play with integrity, act appropriately on and off the filed (mcafees drunken swim in broadripple not withstanding . . .) i'll support them 110%. above any other team, even the pretty green and yellow. : )
so go on about jumping on and off the band wagon. dis the colts all you want this season. (tho i think we held our own pretty well against the steelers. FREENY CRAZY!). i can sit back and (mostly) laugh at you. or with you. in the end people. its just a game. its a little pig skin ball being thrown back and forth by a bunch of dudes who make more than you and i will ever see. but i do have a healthy respect for the art of the game now. and i'll continue to enjoy watching it, for whatever team is playing that hour that through my complicated system, im cheering for. and finally. Go Colts! :)