A reply to Amy Weitman’s I am NOT Celebrating the Return of Football Season
I enjoyed your article on the beginning of football season. I really did. It was funny and I understood your pain, and can guarantee that my wife can relate on almost every example.
Now let me shed a little light on why you should be more understanding and supportive of your husband, who also happens to be one of my best friends. Perhaps it will make things better, perhaps it will make you more frustrated. Either way, I am happy to try.
Never forget that men truly never grow up. You might think we do in certain areas of life, like mortgages and trusts and 401ks, but at our very core we are still little boys trying to outdo each other and claim that ever so precious thing that we men call…..Scoreboard.
Scoreboard can be achieved in many ways, but it can only be won. It’s not given to you for nothing, we must earn it, and for men – we are always trying to get it. It gives us hope and laughter and money and more importantly the ability to rub it in our friends faces. Which at the end of the day, is by far the most important thing. There comes a time in our lives when achieving Scoreboard is much more elusive, not because we get less competitive, but because there are fewer opportunities to get it.
Lets face it- we can’t go put on the pads anymore and lay some dude out for going over the middle without his head on a swivel….for you non-football understanding people, let me translate. In football we got to hit, and anyone who played remembers that feeling so well. Crushing a guy who wasn’t paying attention, I can still remember the sound of the hit, the way the dirt or grass smelled and tasted when we landed – its perfection. Football for many, like me – was a way of life for us. Our town literally shut down on Friday nights. If you wanted to rob the local liquor store I suggest you do it on Friday when every person in town was at the game -just kidding – well, sort of.
Getting dressed in the locker room, feeling the tension and fever permeating the room was absolutely intoxicating. Violence was about to happen, yes, but it was as controlled as it can be. It wasn’t barbaric, but it was punishing. The people in the stands were vibrating, the band was blaring. You played for your school and town and for the appreciative looks from the cheerleaders but more importantly you played for the look of pride that only your father can give you…and when you get it, you play faster and harder until you feel like you want to die. Hopefully a win comes and then the town is in this euphoric state where the people at the SonicBurger are giving you free French fries and unlimited refills. No one wants to go home…they just want to hang out and talk about the game and the next game and the previous game. Its a huge party centered around those 60 to 90 kids who just put it on the line for everybody in town to get…..Scoreboard.
Now that is my memory. It’s probably shared by many, but not everyone. Even if it is not something your husband or boyfriend can relate to, it does not diminish their journey to Scoreboard. So our lives are consumed with football every weekend and Monday nights (and now it seems -Thursdays and Fridays, with the added programming from the networks). I will admit there is a lot of football on television now. One could say it’s excessive, I certainly won’t….I friggin love it! The teams we root for are suddenly referred to as “we”, like “we” won or “we” lost. As if “we” had anything to do with the outcome. Well “we” do. Our passion plays a giant part in it in our eyes and minds and that will never change. It is pointless to think it will, for football paves the path for most men in this world. And just when you think it can’t get any worse along comes fantasy football which provides yet another outlet for us in achieving….Scoreboard.
On the surface Fantasy Football does seem a little silly. In fact I wouldn’t participate in it for the longest time because, as someone who used to consider himself a very serious athlete, I thought this was an activity for those Dungeon and Dragon dudes who never threw a ball in their life. Then a friend talked me into it and I was hooked…forever. It’s the ultimate Scoreboard now for us former athletes that requires us to do homework and use our brains and logic. Its not the sexy part of our brains that the ladies our attracted to, more the caveman brain that makes us revert to sophomores in high school. Come on, you gotta admit that sounds sexy right?
You have never lived until you are watching a game and your entire fantasy week depends on some random tight end catching just one more ball or a field goal kicker to miss one extra point. We live and die with each play, with each injury praying our studs stay healthy, for an injury could derail months of homework and planning that you have put into for example the “Sex Panthers”….that is my team that won a league last year and paid some serious dividends if you know what I mean. We are the captains of our team, the brains of the operation, the wind beneath our wings – with all due respect to Bette Midler.
Is it a little nerdy? Yes. Is it a little goofy…probably. Am I a much better husband and father in the offseason? Of course I am, but Fantasy Football gives us ammo for verbally attacking our buddies and never letting them forget vicious beat-downs that had nothing to do with us physically but everything mentally. We outsmarted them and gave them a whipping that will last for an entire 16 week season. Its my 10 guys against your 10 guys this week, of course we have some money on the line but its the honor of the victory….oh who we kidding? For me its the money…lol.
Football, and now Fantasy Football, is very important to us. After all the obvious things in life, it’s probably the most fun. The players and teams make us feel like we are still playing or that we are still competing and as I mentioned before – men love and will always love to compete. It is probably not as intense for most people but I live my life to beat people at things, and so do a lot of men. I am sure the trash can be taken out after this very crucial 3rd and 7 play at my own 45 yard line. I am sure I can take the dog out on a quick walk in 3 minutes and 24 seconds when halftime is here, then I am all yours for approximately 15 minutes. And we mean it when we say after this play, usually it does come down to a few key plays and it seems like our wives are always asking us to do things in incredibly key situations, it never fails.
We are still little boys trying to one up our buddies, because if my team wins or the “Sex Panthers” can win this week….we will have Scoreboard … for 7 days, then we start it all over again…..which is heaven.
Joshua Morrow: Husband, dad of 4, Nick Newman of Young and the Restless for 19.5 years and football freak.