“Football is football and talent is talent. But the mindset of your team makes all the difference.” ~ Robert Griffin III
Going to visit my grandparents my grandfather would be sitting in his Lazy Boy recliner watching the news or sports. Having been born in New Jersey, it was a sure bet that he would be rooting for the Giants or Rangers if it was the latter. I would go and sit on the floor beside him, as he gazed attention rapt to the screen silent, but for the occasional comment and expletive slipping out that would always get my Grandmother to yell “Don!” He would throw his hand at the screen in frustration, “They just gave it up to them!” My grandmother would just shake her head and go back to doing what she had been doing until he would yell again and she would remind him he had grandkids in the room.
Those moments began to cement my love for sports. Even now I get nostalgic when Notre Dame plays, pausing the channel to watch despite not being a fan of college football. My father wold burst with pride if he knew. My brothers played football and my parents would drag us all to each and every game for familial support. As a skater, I would practice before the hockey boys played or have lessons after their games.
I use to go outside and beg my brother to let me throw a football with him. My hands barely big enough to wrap around the end of it. I grew up as much of a girly girl as I was a tom boy. If I could throw a football in heels or play soccer in a skirt, I would.
Having been born in the mountains of New Hampshire people ask all the time how I came to be a New York fan. My Dad was always a baseball and basketball man. While I love going to live games, watching it on television seemed tame compared to the rough and tumble of hockey and football. Thus the pull of the Empire teams which my grandfather himself was a New York fan through and through.
Having a family that was split, my New Jersey native mom, always made it rule to never discuss sports at family gatherings…Of course someone would always jokingly ask, “how about those Red Sox and Yankees.” To which my mom would respond silently with the evil eye before the table got taken over with raucous banter on the merit of which team and players were better.
It was always a great rivalry, New England and New York. It was a lesson in respect of differing views but still the common ground and love of sports. Their was no denying the passion we felt for our teams. We had matured greatly the first time the Patriots and Giants faced off against each other at the Super Bowl, the atmosphere was charged with excitement rather then hostility. We joked back and forth in between stuffing our faces with tacos and wings. During the game the only shift was the team who was losing had conveniently left the room. And at the end we were all gracious winners and losers.
This year is no different. While I am still grieving that embarrassing loss of my Big Blue even joking I was ready for baseball, I can not deny the excitement I get every February regardless of whose playing. Whether it is the food, the teams, (congrats Patriots and Falcons) or just being together, their is something incredibly exhilarating about it.
What are you doing for Super Bowl? Who are you rooting for?