Off Subject: Why do I love football?

So, completely off subject, but perhaps a window into who I am.

Last weekend, in the process of capping off my Sunday evening by watching the Sunday Night Football broadcast (standard fare in my household in the fall), the “Together We Are Football” commercial comes on, with Rob Lowe (that man has aged nicely, just sayin’) talking up his family’s turkey game.  My daughter turns to me, and says, “So, WHY do you love football, mom?”

Uh…Why do I love football?  A bit of dead air as I try to come up with pat answer for that, and as I am formulating something coherent, a slideshow of my football life flashes before my eyes.

  • Being three years old with my dad asleep and snoring in the recliner on Sunday afternoon. My mom is rooting on her favorite team (at that time, the 49ers, the closest team, geographically, to Seattle) on our 19 inch black and white T.V.
  • Around this same time being told that yes, we do root for the Washington Huskies, but we do NOT (let’s be clear about this, NOT) root for the Washington Redskins.  Okay, got it.
  • Remembering my mom just about bouncing off the ceiling (again mom, not dad) when Seattle was awarded a football team.  Trying out the name Seahawk for the first time (what is a Seahawk?!–then never questioning it again).  49ers officially dead to us.
  • Schoolgirl crush on Jim Zorn.
  • Playing tackle football in my best friend’s backyard with the boys.  Stuffing socks in our shirts (get your mind out of the gutter) to mimic shoulder pads.  Beating some kid on a route with a lay out pass catch (in my mind it was beautiful).  That kid came up and knocked me into NEXT WEEK on the next play.  Gasping like a guppy, my ability to breathe a commodity versus a given, but knowing, KNOWING, as a girl playing football, had to jump right up and get back to the huddle.  Played two more plays before I “heard” my mom calling me home.  Got to my room before I cried.  Couldn’t take a deep breath for weeks.  But was invited back to play again.
  • Watching the games with my mom.  College games with The Dawgfather. Efren Herrara fake field goal on Monday night, first playoff win against the Broncos, years of pain and leanness, being thrilled in 1984 when the number 12 was retired for us, the fans.  National Championship for the Huskies.  Being told by mom, “You root for your home.  In the lean years, it can be hard, but the Seahawks have decades before it’s as bad as the Detroit Lions or the Chiicago Cubs.” Noted.  Hard, but noted (and you do get more zen-like about it, as you get older).
  • How it’s a double bonus when a Husky grad makes the ‘Hawks team.  Jermaine Kearse, Warren Moon (after a few stops, I admit), Paul Skanski, and more.
  • How a region can be united by the love of Big Walt, Jacob Green, ‘Tez, Doctor Dan, Kenny Easley, Steve Largent, Dave Brown, Russell Wilson and St. Paul, and the unifying, unadulterated hate of the Raiders, the Broncos, Ken Behring, the Steelers, refs, and the 49ers.
  • Pure joy in 2005 when we beat Carolina.  Pure. Joy.  I shed a tear for my mom, gone since 1989.  I could hear her cheers loud and clear in my ear that afternoon.  And tears again, crushing disappointment, two weeks later in Detroit.  Crushing.  I could feel her tears then as well.
  • The promise of every new season.  This might be “the year.”

Oh, my answer to my daughter?  “It’s hard to explain, I just do, honey,”

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