Football season is upon us. I’m sure some of you are thrilled about its arrival. I am not.
My husband, Noell, is an avid football enthusiast, to put it mildly. He was a sports reporter and editor for 20 years. He plays fantasy football, stays glued to any televised games he can find, later devours the highlights of those games on ESPN’s SportsCenter, engages in sports-related banter on social media and online forums, and practically sets up a tailgating party in our living room on Saturday mornings when ESPN’s College GameDay airs. It doesn’t matter which school the show is broadcasting from on any given week, he loves it.
I’m indifferent to football and, really, most sports and athletic events. I know, I know — I’m living in the wrong region of the country to have that attitude. But I’ve tried to get into it. Honestly, I have. I’ve watched many games as Noell explained to me, play by play, exactly what was going on.
Every time I think I understand, it turns out I don’t. There are too many confusing loopholes and exceptions to the rules of football — too many ifs, ands or buts. So, I gave up. But not before buying a “Football for Dummies” book as a last-ditch attempt to figure out what my husband sees in this brutish pasttime. Well, actually, that wasn’t even my last attempt. I even tried to watch the television program “Friday Night Lights,” hoping that would trigger some interest. It didn’t. That show was actually kind of depressing. But I digress.
During previous football seasons, I’d usually take our daughter, Reese, out for some girls-only fun on gamedays when I didn’t have to work. I have zero desire to catch all the action, so I’ve always been happy to do a bit of shopping or take my girl to lunch at some of the little cafes around Savannah that my husband won’t set foot in, even though I’ve told him he won’t be around to enjoy football if he continues to shun spinach and grilled chicken salads in favor of Five Guys’ double-bacon cheeseburgers.
This season, however, things might be a little different. Our gameday-viewing habits, I mean — not my husband’s eating habits.
Noell says Reese, at nearly 2½, is now old enough to sit through at least a quarter or two of football, during which he plans to impart the pigskin basics. He wants to instill athletic enthusiasm in our daughter as early as he can, which became even more apparent to me earlier this year when he recruited Reese to watch World Cup soccer games with him. To my surprise, it worked.
Reese now loves re-enacting games with her little pink soccer ball (a gift from her dad on her first birthday) and even asks, from time to time, to “watch soccer again, please.”
My husband’s convinced that the right amount of encouragement from him — combined with the fact our pediatrician predicts our girl will have a tall, athletic build — will lead to Reese becoming an international soccer star. We shall see, I guess.
I, on the other hand, am not really convinced it’ll do us a lot of good at this point to nudge Reese in any direction when it comes to hobbies, pasttimes or athletics. She’s still pretty young, obviously, and I want her to be able to pursue her own interests without worrying whether it’s something her parents approve of.
I’ll be thrilled if she plays sports, of course, but I’ll be just as pleased if Reese decides to go the artistic route, perhaps trying her hand at photography, dance or writing. If she’s happy, I’m happy. So, whatever my girl wants to do — within reason, of course — is fine with me. Well, as long as it doesn’t involve making me watch football. I’d still prefer to shop.