Matt Flynn drops back in the pocket and surveys the field. He isn’t Brady. He isn’t Brees. Hell, he isn’t even Leinart, but he gets the job done.
Louisiana State University vs. Ohio State University—National Championship. LSU has the lead.
It’s the end of the second quarter. I want LSU to win. I need LSU to win. Funny thing is, I didn’t even go there. I went to Concordia University and not once did I attend a Stingers game.
When I was a kid, I lived in New Orleans. My father was finishing his post-doctoral program at Tulane, yet, we never rode the Green Wave. We were Tigers all the way. There’s a feeling you get that sits deep in your chest. It starts in your gut and works its way up to your throat. You get choked up. Sometimes, actual tears stream down your cheeks.
This is what it feels like to be a football fan. This is what it feels like to live and breathe for a group of guys you don’t even know. You paint your face black and gold and tailgate in rain, sleet or shine. You wear your Tomlinson jersey and eat Campbell’s Chunky soup. You have a Mastercard because Peyton said you should. You wear Degree to smell like Chad Johnson. You dine at Subway because Reggie Bush does.
You’ve made your choice and you’re sticking to it. It doesn’t take much before a connection is made. Maybe you grew up in Denver and are a Bronco for life. Maybe you went to school near Michigan and now you lead the pride of Lions’ fans.
It could be that in everything you do, you are a San Diego Charger. Your ancestors were Vikings, and you love to watch Peterson. Because you can, because you feel something, every time they kick the ball to Hester, you yell at the TV and tell them not too.
Maybe you fight Irish or maybe you’re a Titan. You used to be a Cowboy, but now you’re a Raven because you got a job in Baltimore. You stood by the Hurricanes in sickness and in health. Why? Because that is what we do. Because this is what it means. Because this is how it is to be a football fan.
Football makes you love and football makes you hate. Football will always be there when you get fired, when you have a fight with your significant other, when your cat dies. Football would hold your hair back when you drink too much and are puking over the toilet. Football would pick up your dry cleaning when you’re too busy.
I don’t watch hockey even though the lore surrounding the Montreal Canadiens is reason enough to tune in. I don’t watch basketball, and I’m pretty sure that even if Montreal had a team, I wouldn’t even begin to understand the sport.
I’ve watched my fair share of baseball, but I’ve never grown attached to an organization. Why? Football’s not just a game; it’s a commitment to a team, a commitment to a player and a commitment to a coach. Football’s a pat on the back and an ice cold beer after a long day at work. I’ve hung out with curling, lacrosse and tennis and they all skimped out on the bill.
Football will never leave you.