FOOTBALL! It’s a game of inches! A Hundred Yard War! And yes, I am a serious football fanatic. As in, I count down the days to the supplemental draft fanatic.
What I love most about football is that every man on that field knows instinctively that the man next to him has his back. He has to know this. If he does not have that confidence, he can’t do his job. He can’t take on his assignment without knowing that whatever happens when the ball is snapped, his teammate has his back and will do whatever it takes for them both to succeed. The best QB is absolutely useless without the left tackle having his back play after play after play.
Without this mindset, nothing else matters. The entire game hangs on this, and I love that.
My wife and I plan to hit every NFL stadium in the near future, and our next stop is the season opener in Jacksonville. I don’t even care about Jacksonville. I just love football.
I do serious statistical research for my fantasy teams, and never miss an opportunity to share tales of my glory days as a backup kicker in high school. I’ll never forget that legendary 2-point conversion PAT fake that I sold ever so well. They totally thought I was kicking it. Totally! Fooled them Every. Single. Time. It was so convincing that we almost even scored points from it.
But I digress…
Being the fanatic I am, I am thrilled that my son has the same affinity for the game. If there is a football game on television, any game, he is watching it through the waning seconds. He understands the subtle nuances of most defensive schemes, and is among the most dominant defensive players in his league. They call him “Seek and Destroy”.
Did I mention he is seven?
Of course, here in Texas, by the time you are seven you are expected to be a seasoned veteran with significant experience under your belt, battle scars and helmet stickers to show for it.
But the truth of the matter is that when he takes the field with his fellow gridiron warriors, what really lies behind that facemask is not Brian Uralcher or J.J. Watt, but a little boy. My little boy.
While dads like me dream of full-ride scholarships and Hall of Fame acceptance speeches, he is just hoping to get McDonalds for lunch after the game because the new Happy Meal toy is cool.
Or maybe he is thinking about digging into the sandbox, coloring a picture, molding some Play-Do into the carpet, or going to the playground to ride the merry-go-round or try out the new slide. And of course, he wants me to take him.
Because I’m his dad.
And if I can devote hours and hours to football practice, I should certainly be able to find some time for those things.
He deserves that.
So I will cheer him on faithfully over the next few months, win or lose, starting hero or lonely benchwarmer, and will make an effort not to moan and groan about him wanting to play checkers when we get home from practice and I’ve had a long day already.
My son loves football as much as I do. But in the big scheme of things, all that matters to him, all that ever has mattered and all that ever will matter, is knowing that I have his back.