More than a game

As we all know, today is the conclusion on another NFL season. Seems like everyone in America watches this game. Some watch because they love the commercials. For others it’s an excuse to throw a party. The purists watch it for the love of the game. I believe the NFL doesn’t care if you even watch as long as it’s just on. Personally, the Super Bowl is a bitter sweet day for me. My love/ hate relationship with the biggest game on the planet.

Growing up the Super Bowl was always a big deal. Food, treats, and goodies were plentiful around the house. It’s like New Years in February. I have vague memories of my mother screaming as Marcus Allen raced towards his then record setting touchdown. As the years went by and the games piled, I often found myself pulling away from the party scene that is the Super Bowl. As a young adult at my final Super Bowl party I remember wanting to be home with those treats and goodies. After Mike Jones made that tackle I made the decision to stay home for the “Big game” every year.

Now I am in my mid 30’s and my Super Bowl routine is similar to when I was a kid. Honestly, it’s very similar to every Sunday during the regular season. Me, my wife, and my four children. Only thing different is, my favorite father in law and my favorite mother in law have been joining us the last couple years. I have no issues with this what so ever. They are respectful of how and why I watch the game. They also add to the ambiance of the evening. None of this really explains why I dislike this game either.

I can go on and on about the commercials of this game. I loathe them. I dislike them with a fiery passion. I can’t figure out for the life of me why people would be loud during the game and funeral quiet during the commercials. Frustrates me. This game is bitter for me in two very simple reasons. It puts a bow on the game I love, and it concludes my Sundays with my son. Football is more than a game in this house. It’s a passion. It’s something to cheer for with having no control of the outcome. It’s bigger than you or me.

Like many people, I have skeletons in my closet. The more I write, the more that are unveiled. As I sit across from my oldest son as he sleeps I’m reminded why this game, the Super Bowl is so mixed for me. In 2004 the Eagles capped off an unbelievable season with a birth in the big game. At the time I was still stuck with the demons of my past. I celebrated the big game with a “few” beverages at roughly 12:30 in the afternoon. Maybe earlier. Needless to say by the time the game started, it wasn’t about having that special day, or moment with my son or family. It was all about me and no one else. When the game didn’t go the way I had hoped, I found myself in his bed and my family at a hotel. Not sure how any of that happened. How’s that for a Super Bowl memory?

After years of taking the Monday after the Super Bowl off, I no longer need to. This is my final Sunday of the year to sit down with my son and watch the game we both love. So while you watch the game for the commercials, the actual game itself, or maybe not even at all; I watch it because I love the game. I love my son more. I’m incredibly thankful my bride gave me another chance to make better, fonder memories with him. The Super Bowl is about that “couch time” with him. It’s teaching him the game so he can teach his kids. It’s about my daughters doing cheers in between plays and boasting about the cheerleaders. It’s about my youngest son making silly remarks while he does weird dances. It’s about my bride making fun of me while I inevitably spill food on my shirt. It’s about my family. It’s about 2nd and 3rd chances. It’s about them and not me.

So wherever you find yourself tonight, try to soak it in. Root for the Broncos cuz you’ve been a fan since “The Drive”. Cheer on the Seahawks because you’re a VIP member of the 12th man. Whatever the reason is, enjoy it and make memories. If you have kids, make today about them and not you. Share your love for the game with them. Enjoy this game because it’s the last meaningful game for 7 months.

For me it’s a culmination of 20 weeks spent with my favorite people. It’s memories of walking down the hallway and shutting a door so my kids don’t hear my frustration. Playing football with my boys during halftime. Listening to my bride get upset over a “phantom” holding call. Watching my girls parade around the house in their green without a care in the world. At the conclusion of tonight’s game, I have to wait 7 long, grueling months for these sights and sounds. So tonight I look forward to my girls dancing to the halftime show, my bride teasing me for spilling, and my youngest son making us all laugh.

It saddens me knowing this is my last “couch time” with my oldest. After every thing he’s been through, Sundays are my chance to make it up to him. I love knowing he watches the game because he loves it. He asks questions about offensive lineman and who the 5th corner back is. I like to think he looks forward to spending some time with his dad. Most Sundays we end up hugging, high fiving, and laughing together. These are my favorite memories. These are the memories I want him to hold onto and pass on. Not staying with mom in a hotel because daddy is “sick”.

And so the Broncos and Seahawks tie a bow on a very, VERY special season for me. I hope your team wins. I hope you enjoy the game for whatever reason you watch it. I plan on following through on my Sunday routine. I plan on watching this game with the people I love the most. I only wish we could spend this Sunday with 53 guys in the city of brotherly love. I need to make that game up to my son. The Super Bowl is about greatness and where legends are born. I hope to be great one day. I hope my kids tell their families how awesome Super Bowl Sunday was because they spent it with family, just like every other NFL Sunday.

Enjoy the game, I know I will

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