The Feeling of Football

Stepping outside today, the air feels crisp and the world smells of apples, freshly-sharpened pencils and wool scarves. Autumn is here and growing up in my Midwestern family, that meant football season. I never cared about the players or the score but I loved the socializing, the tailgating, the fanfare, the rowdy cheering, the marching band at halftime. Football gave us an excuse to gather with my dad's side of the the family, cook a roast and watch the game on Sundays or bundle up and tailgate outside the stadium before cheering on the high school team. My husband was surprised to hear me mention football with nostalgia as I don't follow it at all anymore while he, a Canadian, is suddenly very knowledgeable about his new home team the Seahawks. I told him it isn't about football, for me it's about the feeling of football.

All families have their own ways to bond, even if they aren't aware this is what they are doing. My mom grew up in a family who played cards - cribbage, pinochle, whist, bridge, anything - and now when the siblings get together they always settle in to tease and laugh and bicker happily as the cards fly. When my husband sees his parents or sister, they all lean in to discuss international politics and professional tennis. I have cousins who get fired up about Formula 1 and wake in the wee hours to watch it live from Europe. My friend Catherine grew up hiking and birding and she tells stories about her mother wearing a "No Whining" badge on her pack and carrying a fresh egg to whip up a fresh berry cobbler over a campfire. To someone outside that family, doesn't that sound wonderful? Sometimes we don't stop to think about what we generally take for granted simply because that's what we've always known.

I want to pay more attention to how we spend our days with our son. How do we bond as a family? How will that evolve as he gets bigger? I want him to know the feeling of football. We'll cheer on the Seahawks here and I can't wait to take him back to the Midwest to watch football with his grandfather, his uncle and his cousins.

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