Eighteen years ago when I met my husband, I quickly learned that his weekends off meant one thing: watching football! He would spend most of his Saturdays and Sundays watching college and professional football, and because it was such a large part of his life, I wanted to make it a part of my life too. And once I began to really learn the game, I realized how much it brings families together!
My husband started playing football when he was 5 years old – he grew up in the South where football is its own religion. He played for a long time, but he decided not to pursue it in college because he wanted to go to medical school. Because of his vast knowledge as a football player, he was able to teach me “inside” things that some people don’t know. I got to see how patient he was with me when I was learning the plays, the teams’ divisions, how the draft worked and various details that I’m still learning today. I got to see his eyes light up when I called a play correctly (before the snap). I got to see the joy, love and pride in watching his favorite team, the New Orleans Saints, win the Super Bowl.
Throughout the 18+ years of our marriage, football has been a HUGE part of it. Neither of our boys played the sport, but our kids grew up watching football right with us. It became a family bonding time. When the kids were little, we would dress them in Saints jerseys and cheerleading outfits. We would make our Sunday night dinners “football food.” Our kids would play on the floor while we watched the games and when we cheered, they did too…even if they had no idea why they were cheering! We had years of football parties and often took the kids to restaurants to watch games…all decked out in Saints attire. When the boys got to be middle-schoolers, they participated in Fantasy Football with us. This brought on a new level of fun and memories for the whole family watching those games.
When our oldest entered high school, he started playing in the marching band. Do you know when the marching band performs?! Half-time of the football game – Yay! We had a reason to go to high school football games even though our children didn’t play the sport. We were so excited! LIVE FOOTBALL! We have spent many Friday nights cheering on our kids’ high school team, and I love knowing that this sport has brought us so much family time.
Now, we attend KU football games and watch our oldest play in the KU Marching Band. Regardless of how the team plays, football means so much more to our family than what the numbers are on the score board. For us, football means family, fun, food and memories. And I seriously doubt you can find anyone who doesn’t love a good tailgate! Check out below for a fun Tailgate Bingo Printable that’s a great way to make things fun with older kiddos.
So, before you hear those glorious words “Are you ready for some football?” see if you can make this your family’s sport too. Because football isn’t just a sport, it’s an opportunity for family memories!
The National Football Foundation (NFF) launched Football Matters, to celebrate the positive impact the game has made on millions of players, coaches, administrators, volunteers, and fans nationwide. Debuting in February 2018 at www.footballmatters.com and on social media, Football Matters spotlights and explains the many benefits that football brings to communities, schools, families, and individuals and the opportunities it provides to those on and off the field and at every level. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.