Yes, I confess, I am a football fan. This time of year I spend every Sunday watching football from 10 o’clock in the morning until after 8 o’clock at night –and then go back for more some weeknights. My love of the game came as a young kid playing “flag” football on the streets in front of our home. Of course, in our neighborhood you tackled the other guy first then pulled his flag.
I think one reason for my locking onto football was because of my father. Dad was an accomplished athlete and was exceptionally good at any sport he played. The problem with that was that he would be a perfectionist and overly demanding when he tried to teach me the game. As a result I rarely ever got to just play and enjoy myself. Football was different. Dad didn’t have time or the patience to play with a bunch of screaming kids –so I got have fun just playing. There was no pressure to always grip the ball exactly right, or get into the precise right position or catch the ball (every time and with the correct form). I could just play for the fun of it.
Coming from San Francisco, I started as a Forty-niners fan. When I moved to Dallas in the early 80’s I started supporting the Cowboys. I am still a fan of those teams today. But I had an epiphany in 1985 that changed who “my team” would be forevermore.
In those days I traveled extensively for my work and I was in New Orleans on business at least once a month. One Sunday afternoon I was in the French Quarter “relaxing” when a friend said he had extra tickets to the Superdome to see the New Orleans Saints play the Dallas Cowboys and asked if I’d like to go. Now the Cowboys were in top form leading their division and the Saints were second rate at best (their nick name in those days was “the ‘aints”). In fact, the cowboys had beaten the Saints 5 times in a row so I did not think it would be much of a game –but football is football, so I said yes.
When we got to the stadium I was shocked to find out that the game was sold out. As I stood in line waiting to get through the turnstiles I noticed that one out of three Saints fans was wearing a brown paper bag over their heads, with holes cut in them for the eyes and mouth. I laughed like hell – but I admired the simple fact that they there were still there –still supporting their team. I decided that fans with that much heart deserved a winning team. I became a Saints fan on the spot and have been one ever since.
By-the-way, last Sunday I watched the Saints play the Cowboys at the Superdome again. The Saints killed them --and the barbarian in me enjoyed the revenge….
You know someone is a true football fan if he can sit in the front row at the 50 yard line and ask, "What cheerleaders?"
Live Long and Prosper....