Feb 072010

I didn’t mention it the other day… nor did I really mention this to the person who kick-started the whole train of thought which is this post.  Friday night’s conversation about why I have a deep seated loathing for football, opened up some old wounds that I had forgotten. I almost broke into tears while on the phone, and almost cried about it when I got off the phone.
It honestly shocked me this sudden emotion about something so silly as football.
So I thought about it. I have good memories of football. I have great memories of football. But I also have many many horrid memories of football.
I have never watched football for the game though. Ever.  Dear Ex’s.. no matter what I told you, I never ever watched football because I actually wanted to watch the game. Never. Not Once.
I grew up in Nebraska as most of you know by now. Its a huge football state. College Football. The NFL is for losers and douchebags (hey its how I was raised). 
So most of my childhood was entire fall seasons of football games. Watching them on TV when televised (rare) or listening to the game on the radio while watching or helping my dad putter around in the garage.
One of my favorite and probably earliest memories of watching football was sitting on my grandfather’s lap in my parent’s basement. Everyone else was doing something else. Mom & Grandma were talking something boring (I was like 5, all adult talk was boring) and my sisters were doing their usual doing something beyond my young kid skills or otherwise ostracizing me.  So I went to see if I could sneak in some TV since I was bored (we were limited to 2 hours only a day and we didn’t have cable). 
There was Grandpa watching the game. I knew enough to know he wouldn’t let me switch the channel, and I was not rude enough to ask. But he offered to share his easy chair with me, and let me watch the game with him. He even took the time to tell me what was happening on the screen.
I have other random memories of watching with my father and other family members. It was a social time. A bonding time. But for me, it was never about the game.
In college, one of my guy friends who I’d always wanted to date (and whom everyone else thought we were dating.. and whom ended up being gay) invited me to some Husker game parties. It was just a fun time with food, and cheering, and bonding.  But it was never about the game.

Then came my ex.

He’d gotten turned onto football a couple years earlier, and said he liked the Saints. It was the first and only team he’d ever watched live, and watched the games with his ex’s father.
I’ve always disliked the Saints. I honestly don’t give a rats-ass about most teams. Never did. I could care less if you’re a Packers or Steelers or Bears or Redskins (are those all NFL football teams?) fan. But I’ve never liked the Saints. (I’m serious.. cheering for the Saints to me is a lot like cheering for evil or poison.. I don’t know what it is.. but I just have never liked the Saints.. You know if they changed their name to the Zombies, I’d probably like them)
He said he didn’t have to watch the Saints.. he just liked football. (Total lie)
One lie lead to another really. I’m not going to say its all his fault, as I’m sure I’ve got a hand in this too.
But what he’d told me was just a one day a week thing, suddenly became 2. Then 3. Then 4.  Anytime I wanted to go somewhere, there’s a game.  It started with “I have to watch the Saint’s play” to “I have to watch everyone play because it all ties into how the Saint’s will do on…blah blah blah”
Sundays were completely wasted because there was the pre-pre-game, the pre-game, the introduction to the game, the game, the exit of the game, the post game, and the post-post game.
Combine this with being able to walk into the room wearing nothing but a piece of lingerie, and not be noticed (even during a post-game or pre-game show).. I began to really hate football.
Just the sound of the game in the background got my hackles up.
Soon regular NFL wasn’t enough. There was the sports packages, the NFL packages, the no-one-cares old NFL game packages.. and then he got into college football. He wanted to decorate the living room in Saint’s football stuff as well.
Football played 24/7 in the house. I honestly half the time didn’t know if the game he was watching was “the game” or just some rerun or not.  So I didn’t know if I should be nice and not interrupt or if I was free to interrupt. I was supposed to just “know”.. you know.. 
So now there’s a crapload of pain and anger about football and the good memories were drowning in it.  But I am healing.
At the start of this football season (and even before that) the mere mention of football, and I’d tense up. I’d get twinges of anxiety, anger, and hatred.
The other night on the phone, when asked about the SuperBowl, I discovered I wasn’t angry. I really hadn’t been angry when football was mentioned in weeks.. or maybe months. 
I still don’t like the Saints, but I now can hear that word and the “Who Dat” without wanting to punch something.
Baby Steps.

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