*I've edited this post to link with Flashback Friday, hosted by Martha at Seaside Simplicitiy. Hop over to Marth's blog to add your own Friday Flashback.
a. they're die hard fans of any game involving the pigskin and will watch no matter who's playing
b. they're loyal to a particular team in the final match up so they're excited to watch
c. they like a party and great appetizers so if you've got dip they're in, and
d. football? blech! I'll be watching NCIS reruns in the other room
I guess in our house we land somewhere between a and b. We'll pretty much watch any game up to a point, but we definitely have our loyalties when it comes to particular teams and players. Now that I think about it, our loyalties might lie less with the team and more with the city they represent and the chunk of our lives we associate with that city.
When I was growing up the team from Baltimore was known as the Colts. In 1984 their owner moved that team in the dark of night (literally) to Indianapolis, where they remain to this day. Not in the Superbowl, but I digress. Marylanders were not at all happy, but I didn't care so much back in 1984 because I was an Eagles fan and didn't follow the Baltimore teams.
This isn't confusing is it?
I grew up outside of Philly and will always and forever think of the Eagles as 'my hometown team', but...there's a but....when you move as much as I have you discover it is very possible to have more than one hometown team.
Also, I should add that not all Marylanders were unhappy when the Colts left Baltimore, because a big chunk of that small state has always rooted for the Washington Redskins.
I told you. Football. Not confusing at all.
We moved to Maryland in 1994. One day in 1996 we woke up to discover Art Modell had moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, and voila...the Ravens were born. All sorts of legal mumbo jumbo stated that the name Browns, along with the team colors and team history, had to remain in Cleveland, but the players became Ravens.
So not confusing.
Clevelandites were now the unhappy ones, and if there's one thing you should know about pro football its this-someone is always unhappy. Anyway, most Marylanders were excited to finally have an NFL team in town and a contest was held to choose the name and mascot. In case you didn't know, Edgar Allan Poe spent the early part of his career in Baltimore and is also buried there, so the team name is essentially a shoutout to a hometown boy made good.
Back to us...we spent nine happy years living in Maryland, and my girls went from toddler to teen in this city by the Bay. Funny how the 49er's are also a city by the Bay, but when I say Bay I'm talking East Coast. The Chesapeake.
When I think of Baltimore I think of trips to the zoo-
I think of Saturday morning walks around the Inner Harbor, visits to the Aquarium, and Girl Scout overnights spent sleeping uncomfortably on the hard floor of the Science Center-
I think of third grade field trips to a former oyster cannery, a daughter's 12th birthday at The Hard Rock Cafe, and accidental matching shoes on the pavement outside-
I think of Camden Yards and a shortstop named Cal who was making baseball history.
I think of countless runs to BWI and the unscripted welcome home sweetness of fathers and daughters.
I think of boating on the Chesapeake and the Old Bay goodness of crabs picked on a sunshiny day.
I think of purple seats in a downtown stadium.
These days we live in NY Giant country. Or NY Jet country depending where your loyalty lies. And of course these two NY teams play their home games at a stadium in NJ so yeah, football's not at all confusing.
On Sunday there will be no confusion. No conflict as to where our football loyalties lie. We didn't grow up girls in San Francisco. We didn't watch a thousand sunsets on that west coast Bay. We never planted roots, made a house a home, fell in love with bridges and sea air and blue herons in a California burg.
Why do I love football? Lots of reasons...I love the competition, the intensity, the skill...I love a game won in the last seconds, a fabulous catch, a ball run into the end zone from 80 yards away.
Mostly though, I love what football stirs up inside my head. I love the memories invoked. My dad in his recliner, youth group retreats, fall days, college, Neyland Stadium filled with 90,000 screaming fans dressed in orange, blue skies, family piled together on the couch eating lil' smokies and cheering for the hometown team. Growing up. Me and them.