This last Saturday night, Aaron and I babysat for my cousin and her husband. We put the kids to bed, cleaned up the house, plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. Aaron typically has control over the remote, because let’s be honest: I fall asleep ten minutes into watching any show, so his channel of choice was obviously ESPN. In response, I yanked out my kindle and completely zoned myself out (I’ve never really been a die-hard fan of sports).
“Do you know who’s playing in the Superbowl tomorrow?” he suddenly asks. I immediately laugh, which meant, not a clue. “One starts with an F,” he hints but I stare at him blankly. “Okay, it’s the name of a bird.” “Oh, oh! The Flamingos!” It’s a bird that starts with F so clearly it was a legitimate answer. “Not quite,” he chuckles. I guess again, “The…fawns?” I question. Aaron shrugs his shoulders, “That’s a deer! The Fal…” I attempt one last guess. “Oh! I got it. The Falcons!” He beamed with pride that I finally got it right. “Alright, nice! They’re playing the Patriots. Remember who plays for them? His name starts with a T.” I think for a moment. “Yeah! T-Bone!” If you’ve ever heard Aaron’s laugh, it’s completely warm and hearty and I fall in love with it every time I hear it; another hint that my answer must be wrong. “Wait,” I exclaim. “Isn’t that his name? The guy who does this?” I jump off the couch, bend down on one knee, curl my elbow and bow my head. Aaron explodes with laughter. “Noooooo! That’s Tim TEBOW! Tom Brady plays for the Patriots!” Tears roll down his cheeks, his hand presses against his chest, and he gasps for air. Apparently I haven’t paid close enough attention during our previous football crash-courses. #marleemoment (In my family, a “Marlee Moment” is equivalent to a “blonde moment” but I’ll teach you more about that in the future).
The next morning, we teach our CTR 6-7 year old Primary class. Bowen, the boy who offered the opening prayer said, “…and please bless we can have fun watching the Superbowl. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” I know God heard his prayer because I’ve never had as much fun watching a football game then I did this one and here’s why (except for Superbowl XLIX; that was Aaron and mine’s second date but I wasn’t watching the game — I was flirting, obviously, and feeding him and his roommates pasta & wings):
- I enjoyed seeing athletes succeed. I realize I am not a big enough football fan to be up-to-date with the politics/possible rumors about the Patriots so I don’t have much room to speak here but I’ve heard them be accused as cheaters and ridiculed for winning another Superbowl. Cheaters or not, I have no clue, but I do know that they played tough for five quarters and did not quit fighting. Nor did the Flamingos! Er, I mean, Falcons. Both teams persisted through brutal tackles, tumbles, and portrayed tremendous sportsmanship. I celebrated and applauded the Patriots’ epic comeback because, with the rest of America, I’ve never seen anything like it. Likewise, I sympathized and hurt with the Falcons because I witnessed the fight they endured and the loss they experienced. Winners or losers, they are all successful athletes and it’s pretty incredible to see their strong, durable bodies work so hard for what they wish to achieve. Bravo, boys.
- Our divided country was united, despite the fan-based rivalry. Did you see how Lady G completely WOWED the entire nation? I don’t know about you but I was extremely impressed with her performance, specifically her opening song, “God Bless America.” It’s rare that you’ll see a pop-star dedicate even 60 seconds of their 13 minute fame to their country. Seriously, it was a neat moment for me. How blessed are we as a nation to experience a night of entertainment, practice friendly competition, enjoy amazing food and even better company? Which leads me to my last point…
- It reminded me of the value of friendship. Friendship makes my list of values because I have seen how much benefit they provide. After my high school graduation, many of my friends moved to different cities. Okay, most of them went to Provo and I went up North, but part of growing up is letting things go and it’s especially common for friendships to come to an end during transitional periods in our lives. Luckily for me that hasn’t been the case. I had three best friends in high school; Whitney, Krystal, and Siera, whom I have been blessed enough to remain close to all these years. Even though we’ve been apart, we have managed to still have each other’s back when times get tough, reply to every text, and have occasional catch-ups with our significant others. John Bytheway said, “There may come a day when you are not as strong as you should be. At that point your choice of friends will be critical.” I’m grateful that the four of us have put in the effort to keep each other as our closest friends and that they were able to coach me through the big game last night, play-by-play. The opportunities friends provide to make life better far outweigh anything that can be found in material possessions. As a result, they ought to be pursued with far greater fervor than most of us commit to them.
So, these are the three reasons why I’ve learned to love football. What are yours?