I never thought one day I’d become a football fan. So far I’ve only watched part of last NFL season through to the Super Bowl and then I started from the beginning of this NFL season. I have so much more to learn about the sport, but I am enjoying every minute of it. But amazingly, what I found is watching football is surprisingly not just a way to pass the time in an entertaining fashion; it is also a way to heal from grief.
Obviously there is nothing or no one who could ever replace my dad, but I think it helps that he was a basketball fan and knew nothing about football. Maybe my brain doesn’t think of him every time I watch like it would if I turned on an NBA game (which I haven’t lately). Maybe it’s also because he’s not the one explaining the game to me and I can’t feel his energy as he is engrossed in watching a game. My brain on football is totally experiencing something new and something I have to figure out on my own with the help of some friends. Yes, this time I attribute getting into football to friends, whereas getting into basketball I attribute to my dad.
It’s just funny that I used to think football was so not me and there’s no way I could be friends with anyone who was a die-hard fan. In the present tense I have a favorite team, I’m following my favorite team on Twitter, I watch my favorite team’s locker room speeches on YouTube, I read up on articles on my favorite team, when my favorite team is playing, if I can’t watch them on TV, I pull up the ESPN website to keep up with the score and refresh the page all throughout the game, but most of all, I find myself doing research on the team members in my free time. I look up their history, their stats, their age, their weight, etc. I’m basically fascinated by football players and their lives. I do this research in anticipation for the next game, to predict the outcome. They look like men going to war every time they play. It’s exciting. I guess I understand how fantasy football got started.
And now every week it’s been exciting to have something to look forward to, to have something to scream about, even if it’s just at the TV or to an ESPN gamecast page on a laptop. Watching football is something that brings something happy into my life again, that appeases the waterworks in me every time I lay my head down at night and I think of my dad. I haven’t figured out what kind of way it is to heal from grief, good or bad or something else, but watching football is certainly one way to heal from grief.