football season is well under way. for most of my life, basketball was my favorite sport. i knew the basic rules of football, which i learned from playing video games with kids i baby-sat and then attending the games of my linebacker boyfriend in high school. but i wouldn't say i was really into the game. when i graduated from college, i found myself living away from my friends and with lots of spare time on weekends -- particularly sundays. this was the impetus for my love affair with football. but maybe God also knew that my appreciation for the game would be a major point of bonding for me and my future husband.
on our first date as friends, Jarronn and i talked about football. he was a die-hard redskins fan, but had an affinity for donovan mcnabb as a player. so he was able to root for the eagles (my team), as long as they weren't playing the skins. and though i didn't have any affinities for the skins, i learned to do the same for him.
in 2006, after we had both moved back down to maryland, Jarronn was so excited to get season tickets to the skins' games. i missed the time with him on sundays, but he absolutely loved tailgating and cheering on his team until his voice was gone.
Jarronn bought me my authentic mcnabb jersey for my birthday in 2005. in 2006, he bought us lower-level seats for the skins-eagles game (his season tix were in the 400 level section). i know there's probably lots of ladies thinking, "what's up with all of the football themed birthday gifts?" but i loved it. i was thrilled that i got to go to my first nfl game with him, and was even more happy when the eagles beat the skins. those photos of me in the "comfort" post were before that game. afterwards, it was me trying to get him to smile.
over the years, i've found myself cheering on the redskins. the eagles are still my #1 team, but because Jarronn loved the skins so much and would be disappointed when they lost -- if for nothing else i cheered them on because i wanted him to be happy.
Jarronn isn't getting the chance to use his season tickets this year. that feels really strange. i went to sunday's game hoping to represent him in some way. Lord knows i can't be nearly as loud or funny or heckle with the skill that he had. but it felt great to be out there. to be in his seat. to see his family and friends at the tailgate. to hi-five the other season ticket holders around us. to pay too much for french fries. to feel the energy, maybe even some of his. to celebrate the win.
i miss Jarronn being here to watch the games on tv with me. to make commentary on the action. he had this crazy way of saying the exact thing the commentators would say, but just 30 seconds sooner. i missed not having him here to discuss how awkward tony dungy looked on his first night of monday night football.
in a sense, football is just a sport. but in so many ways it's been a lot more. football brought me and Jarronn closer together. it was a reason to connect with friends. it consistently entertained us. it served as a way for us to establish traditions. it helped my dad and Jarronn bond. it probably even made my own relationship with my father stronger. so i truly love football. a love affair that led to so much more love in life.