As very few of you might know, this weekend marks the 52nd Superbowl for the NFL. And, as this will be the first time that I’ll be watching it as a dad, I thought I’d do a quick post about how my relationship with the NFL has changed since Isabelle was born.
A few years ago I was verging on being addicted to the NFL. Sunday nights from 6pm meant Redzone (their service for skipping between all the games going on) until well gone midnight and that was it. No excuses. Whatever Rachel wanted to do on Sundays it had to be done early so we could be home in time to watch it. Then there was the late game on Sunday, which I would often watch on Monday after work, the Monday night game which would then be watched on Tuesday, and of course, Thursday Night Football, which, as you might be able to guess, was watched on Friday. I even dragged Rachel all the way to Wembley, on numerous occasions, to watch a game, but she didn’t actually mind doing that:
Before I carry on, I will say that I didn’t always watch these other games, I only would if I hadn’t seen the score or if they were games that I was actually interested in seeing. Although in fairness, I did often want to watch them. Not only was it that, but of course you have NFL Fantasy, which is their equivalent to the Dream Team that people play in the UK for the Premiership. So I was pretty deep into that. Then when the NFL wasn’t on, I’d often play Madden, which is the video game version of the sport. Something that I spent a staggering amount of time playing.
Even as I’m writing all of this now I’m starting to notice how time consuming the NFL was to me. I’m racking my brain as to how Rachel put up with it. I know I often managed to do a lot of this when she wasn’t even there, but looking back, it must have been insanely annoying having so much time dedicated to a sport she only had a vague I’m-only-watching-it-because-you-are kind of interest in. A little bit like me with Eastenders. Can I tell you what’s happening in that show? Most likely. Would I watch it if it wasn’t for Rachel? Not a chance in hell.
So What’s Changed?
Since having Isabelle, my relationship with the NFL has changed. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the 20 Sunday’s that it’s been on, I’ve watched it. But am I happy for Rachel to put something else on and I’ll catch up with it later? Sure. Will I go to bed to spend time with her and Isabelle as opposed to staying up late and watching it? Absolutely. And will I skip all the other days that it’s on and do something else instead? You guessed it, of course I will.
I guess I’ve just hit a stage in my life where I just don’t care about it that much any more. Maybe I’ve just realised that there are more important things to do than dedicate 6 hours of a Sunday to watching some sport. Why do that when I can book a Monday off and we can go away for the latter part of the weekend and spend time together somewhere new as a family.
Of course, as Isabelle gets older, my views on the NFL may change. I will happily want to involve her in sport as she gets older and taking her out to throw a ball around is certainly something I would love to do. But at this stage, there’s very little in terms of sport you can do with a 9 month old. We can wrestle, but that’s about it.
Despite the fact I’ve not followed this season as much as I have in the past, I’m still excited to watch the Superbowl. But it’s different. I don’t have that ‘I’m not missing this for anything’ mentality when it comes to it. If Isabelle was ill, or she wouldn’t sleep and Rachel wanted me to come up and get her to sing her to sleep and it was the middle of the 4th quarter, would I really care that I was going to miss some? No, not really. I understand that my role in life is now much bigger. I guess there are just more important things in life than sport.
I know Bill Shankly once said the following, even if it was about football:
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that”
But to me, and I know he may not have actually been serious when he said that, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
Actually About the NFL
For those who are interested, and since this is a UK parenting blog I dare say my demographic doesn’t consist of many NFL supporters, I hope the Patriots win. I love seeing greatness and what Tom Brady has done over the course of his career is up there as one of the greatest careers of any athlete to ever compete in any sport. A Superbowl is a hard thing to get to, and the fact that this is his 8th is phenomenal. That’s half of his career as a starter he’s got to the Superbowl. It’s crazy and it blows my mind. So no, I don’t want the Eagles to win. A prediction, I hear no one ask. My guess is 24-17 to the Patriots. But there’s a very strong chance that I will be wrong. And if I am, well, I can edit these posts you know.