Every Saturday in the fall, my ritual is to find a spot in front of a tv, with a Diet Dr. Pepper (thanks to their brilliant ad campaign) and watch universities all around the U.S. play the classic and beloved American sport of football.
I was never an athlete. However, when you grow up with a dad that could have become a professional football player, had he not been injured in college, there is a certain obligation to try. To try is to experience, even if you fail. My father understood the values that sports espoused and I can’t blame him for the encouragement. I put forth a valiant effort and played softball as a catcher. Needless to say, the best part of the games, for me, were the 7-11 slurpees post-game.
I didn’t have to play sports to appreciate them.
My father is a humble guy. Numerous scrapbooks put together by my grandmother, full of aged newspaper clippings, speak for themselves. If you asked him what matters, it wasn’t his stats or the accolades. He talked only of his teammates and his coach, who recently passed a way from a horrible battle with cancer. His hall of fame and All-American statuses, his profession as a trusted advisor to many NFL athletes and D1 CFB coaches, were just part of the resume. It was secondary to the legacy of intangible values that he shared with my sister and I.
This isn’t a piece on my father’s accomplishments.
I’ve been a fan of college football for a long time. I wasn’t forced to watch. In fact, my sister hates football. When it was time to apply to college, I went right for a big D1 football school. It was a way for me to bond with my dad. An opportunity to appreciate the values I was taught as a child, reflected on the field by fallible students with superb athleticism. Though the coaching contracts are beginning to rival the NFL and athletes are becoming superstars before they earn a dime, there is a still a sense sacrifice, focus, teamwork and fortitude. There is a team synergy that is magical. On a Saturday in the fall, you feel these intangible qualities being demonstrated on the field, with one team victorious. An inspiring athletic melody of integrity, where you fight for every inch because nobody is going to just hand it to you.
And yes, for a minute, I can understand why my father is the man that he is. His character was built by my grandparents but refined in that huddle…. and he wants me to live my life like Im in the huddle too.
Music mood: Brent Cobb ” Ain’t a road too long”
daughter of a fullback xo