Last night I watched as the man I love worked his way through every emotion known to football fans world wide…excitement, anticipation, nervousness, stress, worry, anger, frustration, sadness, and annoyance sprinkled with dread, culminating in a climactic rush of pure youthful joy and life-long prayers answered, and then inexplicable bewilderment, as the clock ticked down to :00 in the fourth quarter. The man I love waited his whole life for the moment that arrived last night, at around 10:15 pm EST, in our flu infested living room, in front of our new flat screen television, with us donning our NFL apparel, and it did my heart good to see him that happy.
I was a cheerleader…for all of my youth, and throughout my teens and senior year of high school, I was a cheerleader, and do you want to know a secret? Not until the fall of 2012 did I know what that cheer meant, “1st and Ten, do it again!” I joined Pop Warner sports as a young child and tried out for the cheerleading squad every season, every year, for all of my wonder years, and it was not until I was a middle-aged woman with grandchildren, that I learned anything at all about football; you see I grew up in a non sports oriented household, and fell in love, late in life, with a man who LOVES sports. My father could think of a dozen things (or more) off the top of his head that he would rather do than sit inside and watch some sort of sport on television, and my boyfriend could think of a dozen things (or more) off the top of his head that he would rather ignore so that he could sit inside and watch some sort of sport on television.
In the 5.5 years that I have loved this man there have been more sporting events on my television than in the entire 40 plus years of my life prior to my meeting him, and none have made him as happy as watching his beloved Eagles win the Super Bowl last night. We met, this sports lover and I, in the wee morning hours of a hot July, and indeed I think that September he was shocked, or might have thought I was joking, when he learned that I did not watch football, did not follow football, and knew nothing, at all, about football. “I thought you were a cheerleader?” he asked one day, and I explained that yes, we just did the cheers based on what the coach told us was happening on the field behind us. Sure, many of the girls probably knew the sport well or understood what was happening on the field upon which we were jumping and cheering, but I wasn’t one of them. I had never watched a game on television until that fall of 2012, and despite a youth lived clapping gleefully about offense and defense, I could not have given you any bit of information about the game itself, other than that I did know that ‘offense’ meant you/your team/the team, whatever… had possession of the ball and was trying to make a touchdown. I did not have a father interested in sports, and did not have brothers, and never had a boyfriend who was into sports, so it was not that I didn’t like sports, I simply didn’t know sports.
I only knew two of the songs from the super hyped half-time show last night, and thought it a rather funny turn of events, that I knew more about the football game going on, and the season that had just ended, than of the entertainment…my how the times have changed! This was my 6th season as a football watcher/Eagles supporter and last night’s game was so exciting to watch. After this many seasons I now yell/clap/and loudly say things like “Come On!” and since that very first game, I ask questions, if not every game, indeed throughout the season, so that I now understand, quite a lot, about the rules and what is happening, and I admit that I do enjoy watching much more than I EVER imagined I would. To be honest, if we were to break up tomorrow, this sports lover and I, I doubt I would ever watch a football game again, but as long as I love this man who loves the Eagles, I am going to continue to cheer, and at least now I finally know what the words all mean!