I grew up in a household where football reigned supreme.
My family, it is said, bleeds burnt orange blood – the color of the University of Texas Longhorns.
(All but me, that is. I was the only one of my family (immediate and beyond) to NOT got to UT.)
Games ruled our lives. I am not kidding. A few points of proof:
My Dad long-referenced the day of my birth as being “a dark day, the day the Longhorns lost to Oklahoma” in some bowl or other.
My grandmother’s funeral: afterwards, all retired to my grandfather’s house, and yes, a UT game was watched.
Everyone had a plethora of UT clothing and hats, and other paraphernalia, all of which came out at game time.
Social and family events revolved around annual season tickets.
I never got “it.” I mean, I went to games growing up. I was in Texas, after all, and so football was enmeshed into our social culture. I was on the pep team, and we faithfully baked cakes and toilet-papered the houses of the football team members before every game. (But this, I would argue, was merely an excuse to try to get myself noticed by one of the cute players — it had zero to do with being a real fan of the game.)
I hated the TV being on for those hours, and the loud yelling at the screen. It felt like noise pollution to my introvert ears.
Looking back, it is no accident that I went to a college that had no football team and then to a university known for its tennis team. I wanted no more to do with football and happily moved out of Texas and away from the Longhorn stampede that I had been running from my whole life.
Fast-forward decades. I meet and marry an Irish American man. Once again, it seems to be no accident. He had no idea what American football They have a whole other game over there that they call football! I’ve ensured my escape from the drone of football on the TV and yelled expletives during games.
It is not that I do not enjoy professional sports. I do. I love an occasional baseball, basketball, even football game IN PERSON. But on TV? Nah.
Then it happened. Somehow, in getting to know my father, my husband and I were invited along to a Longhorn game. He started being curious about the sport and the team and I suppose it was an easy subject for him to broach with any member of my family.
But this interest, which at first seemed harmless and sort of sweet (and smart,) in time ballooned into a full-fledged passion.
His interest in football also turned into an interest in all American sports. And not just interest. He really loves them.
The TV now usually has some game or another (or those incessant hosts talking about games or players) on most of the time.
At first, this really disturbed me. I mean, it felt like I was right back at my childhood home again, trapped, held hostage to the sports on the TV and those who just had to watch them.
But I soon realized that my husband works from home a lot and likes to have it on in the background. He really enjoys it. Life is too short not to do those things that give one pleasure, right? And so I have learned to let it go.
I am grateful for a second TV. I am grateful for earplugs. I am grateful for earphones and music and podcasts and audiobooks. They are my friends.
And on big game days, like today, the Super Bowl, I really give in and even join him to watch. I may be looking at my email a lot, or knitting, but I sit with him, because, well, he likes me there sometimes.
And that, I can do. It is the little things, after all.