For the Love of the Game

Kristin HamlinSenior Analyst INovember 11, 2008

I’ve always wondered why it is that I love watching football over any other sport. I struggle to explain it correctly when in an argument, especially when I have someone telling me why baseball is still America’s game and how there are still hero’s in sports such as tennis, baseball, and soccer.


They are correct.

As I said, I never could explain it the way I wanted to in an argument or debate, so here is my response as to why football is my game of choice.

I’m 5’4", 110 pounds. I get tackled by anyone wearing a college and/or pro jersey, chances are, I am either paralyzed or dead. Bottom line: I know I can’t play in the National Football League. I will never experience the thrill of winning a Super Bowl or being inducted into the Hall of Fame as the best running back ever. I am okay with that.

I was born a competitor. I played every sport imaginable as a child and always had to be the best. I would compete with my two older brothers over who got to be QB for our game of pick up football. Not flag football either.


I loved to win. I hated to lose.


I thrive on those movies that are based on true stories (Remember the Titans) and cry at the games that hold so much emotion you can actually FEEL it (Boise State and Oklahoma)


I also know other sports are just as important as football.

Baseball is great. I think if I had to give a sport an award for having such an amazing history and out of the world athletes, it would go to baseball. But I have to face the truth here.


I can’t watch a full nine innings of baseball to save my life. I find myself turning the channels endlessly to Deal or no Deal or trying to see if there is any news to a glimpse of the upcoming year on the NFL/College season.


Not to say I don’t enjoy a good baseball game. I am just simply pointing out, it is not on my agenda to watch one of the 300 games they play in a season. (I know I know. It’s not exactly 300)


Basketball is so not my thing. I wish it was, just so I could say I am not bias to only one or two sports. I have really tried to get into this but sadly cannot. There is nothing exciting watching a ball dribbled around while a guy gets touched by a pinky and it’s ruled a foul. Really?


Ironically enough, it was one of my favorite sports to play as a kid. 

I know there are athletes like Shaq and Kobe. I know about the legends of Bird and Jordan. They are adored by many basketball/sports fans out there, as well as they should be. Though I respect them, it’s hard to keep my attention span focused on their stats and how well they played.

Then there is hockey. I love hockey. I think it is a tough sport with amazing competitors. The Stanley Cup playoffs are as exciting any playoff game I have ever seen. Then again, I was also an Avalanche fan and was privileged enough to witness two Stanley Cups won.

Did I mention I also got to watch athletes such as Ray Bourque, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Chris Drury, Adam Foote, Patrick Roy, Robby Blake, Mike Ricci, Alex Tanguay, Milan Hedjuk, Adam Deadmarsh, and Teemu Selanne all play? If I could ever use a word like surreal, this would be where I would use it.

I sat four rows behind the glass when Ray Bourque held up that Stanley Cup for the first time in his career.

Hockey was my second favorite sport. That night, it was my first. As a sports fan, it is still so hard to beat those emotions I was feeling at that moment.

Tennis, soccer, golf, bull riding, NASCAR, bowling, Scrabble, anything else I am forgetting—well those sports are great, too. I am just not passionate about them.


To write, you must have passion.


To write well, anyway.

My passion is with football. My passion is with the competition and the nail biting that football endures.

My passion lies within the heroes of football. The class acts. The players that play for the love of the game.

Players such as Walter Payton and Barry Sanders, who ran in more touchdowns than most. They never had to do a “dance” or take a Sharpie out of their sock to sign a football. They simply handed the ball back to the ref after scoring a TD and ran to the sidelines.

Defensive players such as Reggie White, who, after tackling his opponent, would also be the first hand reaching out to them, helping them up.

Quarterbacks such as Joe Montana, John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Kurt Warner. All of which hold their head up high and play with such dignity and class, it makes you want to know them. It made you want to root for them.


Drew Bledsoe, who is one of the classiest QB’s, never complained once, though he had many reasons to do so. Those of you that watched Bledsoe and his career, know what I am talking about.

Wide receivers such as Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice, who both have so much talent they used that towards football and football alone. No ego. No whining. Just doing what they did best. Play football.

Selfless players, such as the late Pat Tillman, who not only gave up his life fighting for this country, but in the football world, chose to give up signing a huge contract to stay with his team, the Arizona Cardinals.

Yes, he chose to stay with a team that more than likely wouldn’t even make the playoffs than to go play for the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the St Louis Rams. It wasn’t about money or wins to him. 

It was about loyalty.

Something a lot of athletes could use more of.

I guess you can say that is why I love football so much. There is so much intensity, emotion, passion, & loyalty that goes into this sport, it’s pretty damn amazing. 

I never thought that, as a female, I would be writing so much about this sport. I never thought I would be able to write about something I never was able to experience.

However, this sport has brought out thousands of emotions in me. Fights, tears of sadness, tears of happiness, phone calls to an ex-boyfriend I swore I would never talk to again to tell him my team beat his, and the biggest hug from my Dad when he saw me wearing his old Michigan State sweatshirt. I had never seen him so proud of me before. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was the only thing I could find in my closet.)

This sport has brought me closer to people. I know those of you that have the same passion for this game understand what I am talking about. When your team wins that game or spoils the undefeated team’s record, you want to call everyone you love, like and dislike to talk about about your teams victory.

You LOVE everyone on those days. Absolutely everyone.

Listen, I know there are unsung heroes and passion in all sports. So, please here is your opportunity to give a shout out to those that you feel deserve it. There are plenty of honorable mentions that I wanted to include, but I had to keep this as short as I could, and some athletes I was never able to see play.

Which is why I would like to hear from people that did see Thorpe play or hear their opinion as to who else is a class act in another sport.

In conclusion, here is a quote I found highly appropriate. This goes for all the athletes that couldn’t keep who they really were hidden. Good and Bad.

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it”- Hayword Hale Broun


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