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Saturday
Dec072013

How I Fell In Love With Football

I am a forty-three year old mother of four and my children think I'm crazy. The television roars with the white noise of an incomplete pass. It's Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State, 3rd quarter 10-17 and Saunders is proving to be quite the personality, still prancing after his 81 yard touch down. And I can't contain my glee. Random bursts of shock and awe erupt from a guttural place so deep within that my throat cracks. They wonder, who is this woman, and what alien has inhabited their mother.

It all started this past spring with the Tour de France. In the midst of the worst pain of my life, between surgical procedures and bed-ridden immobility, all I could do was channel surf - a sport in and of itself. One day, my search landed on the Tour. I landed in France. And I could not get enough. The beauty of the countryside, the photography through the most magnificent mountains and ancient villages untouched by time, and the back-stories of the cyclists had me hooked. To watch it live meant ordering the Sports Package. So I did. It also meant setting the DVR for 3am for twenty-one days. I followed every stage with eyes and heart glued to the screen and could not get enough. On the final stage, the riders circling the Champs-Élysées, the sun setting and the lights of Paris illuminating the end of dreams, I cried.

Sports does something to the soul when you give it a chance. For me, the Tour was the gateway drug to a world I never knew existed. A world of men and women with life goals amidst trial and challenges both personal and team-oriented. It was the personal challenges I began relating to, and suddenly I was swept into a world of hope.

The excitement of watching Cycling has now morphed into my new passion - football. I didn't even see it coming. But isn't that how love happens? When you aren't looking? I have been side-swiped by athletics during a time in my life when mobility is my greatest challenge. As pain still controls my daily life. It is when I watch sports, when others are pursuing their greatest passion, that I am finding a peace I never thought possible.

I used to hear sports in the background. Now I see each play and live every move as an escape into a noise so white it cleanses my soul.

Maybe it was the miraculous play of Auburn's one-second 108 yard touchdown win over Alabama. Maybe it was the way The Seahawks played against the Saints. The comeback of the Jaguars after losing eight in a row only to turn around under Coach Gus to become of the more feared winning teams with a streak of four wins and still going strong. Maybe it was the drama of a coach Tomlin tripping a play, or Martin suing the Dolphins. Or maybe it's just that I have finally found the ultimate reality show. Better than Real Housewives. Better than The Amazing Race. Football has stolen the ball, intercepted the play, and left me holding on to the hope that next fall cannot come soon enough. College football or the NFL - I am a babe in the woods who cannot get enough.

Oklahoma closes out the game to win with a last minute touchdown, just edging out Oklahoma State for the Big Twelve championship. I squeal, forgetting the body I am in, my children hang their heads and know - a whole new reality is setting in.

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