Thursday, November 16, 2006Being a Football Widow
I am sure that there are many readers out there who could perhaps call themselves by the same title as I can during certain times every week from aproximately September through January. The sport of football has captivated many mens' attention and time. It becomes something that men need to watch. They can't miss it and it is their passion for a straight 5 months out of every year. As a woman it's hard for me to relate to, yet I am compassionate to it as I know that I have my own passions. Yet it can be very hard when it dominates every Sunday, of all days!! This is the day when we ladies value and look forward to our precious family time! Sure, Monday night football is great-- bring on the party. It's a work-week. But a Sunday, to me, is sacred. When I come home from having shared in the feast of the Mass I want to turn on classical music, cook a feast for breakfast and savor in my husband's presence at home and in family time! So this is my cross to bear during these fall and winter months. I thank God that at least my dear husband does not zone out and completely lose himself to the television set. -At least I can still get responses out of him when I speak to him during a game. I also feel very blessed that there ARE indeed exceptions that my husband wil make when there are other priorities. But, in general, it's a very very hard many months for me and I am sure that there are many other wives out there who share the same cross.
I would like to throw out some encouraging words to my fellow football widows. ~First of all, I want to encourage you to make the most of it. Back in Ohio I would watch the games with my husband. I learned more about the sport and became pretty partial to my husband's favorite team. I would try to keep Sunday a special day by cooking something yummy to have around for ourselves and the potential game-watchers who would come over. I would never wait on them... I wouldn't go that far! But usually I would just have something yummy around and tell them to help themselves. It also became a day when a lot of my girlfriends knew I'd be home and would come join me for tea for hours on end while the guys watched football. It'd turn into a social day. So I'd just keep my chin and spirits up and, when invited somewhere, although I was very frustrated inside, I'd say "they're playing today.. but come on over and join me for breakfast!" or something like that.
One interesting thing about the sport itself I have just learned: Recently my husband and I were watching a game together and I remarked to him that when in the beginning the two teams, formed in lines, run towards eachother and, in my eyes, collide, it was very similar to ancient warfare...remember Braveheart? The two lines of men , the English and the Scottish, would charge at eachother and then join together in a battle of strength and skill. To my surprise, my husband told me that this is exactly what football was modeled after.
Also, I have discovered some really great things about football lately, namely the team of our former hometown, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Apparently they are the only pro football team who does not have cheerleaders! Cheerleaders are, to me, the epitomy of the negative aspects of football. (I won't go into that right now.) The Steelers also come from a city steeped in Catholic heritage, ie the Irish, the Poles, the Italians, and more...
Father loves football too:
~"So, am I a Steelers fan? Yes," Maida said, smiling broadly. "As a priest, I always arranged my schedule so I could get to the Sunday games."
~The team's training camp has even been at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., since 1966.
~The team's Catholic following is evident in one of its largest fan clubs: the Pittsburgh Steelers ~Fan Club of Baltimore, which has more than 3,300 members.
Essex, Md., resident Jack Staley, president of one of its chapters, says at least half of the club is Catholic and compares its appeal to that of the University of Notre Dame.
~Staley, 45, lived in the Pittsburgh area as a boy and remembers people making it a priority to go to Mass before the games.
~As a young priest, Maida was studying law at Duquesne University and living in downtown Pittsburgh in St. Mary's parish. Art Rooney, the legendary founding owner of the Steelers, took Communion daily at St. Mary's. It did not take long for the two to become friends.
(~from Blessed be the Steelers article)
Catholic players: Most of us know about Ben Roethlisburger, the young quarterback who is in his early 20's... he wears a rosary around his neck and crosses himself during the games. But have you heard about Steelers player Troy Polamalu? This article has some wonderful quotes from him about the game itself, about his perspective on the sport, and more. It's worth reading. Here are some bits from that article:
~"Football gives me confirmation of how I can carry out my faith. It's my way to glorify God."
~He said thet their Superbowl victory was "beautiful and a blessing", but, more importantly, that: "success in football doesn't matter. Success in anything doesn't matter. As Mother Teresa said, God calls us not to be successful but to be faithful. My prayer is that I would glorify God no matter what, and not have success be the definition of it."
~Father David Bonnar, pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, has celebrated Mass for 10 years before home games with Steelers players and coaches.
~Troy keeps love at the center of his sport: "I believe that I'm the same person on and off the field. I live my life with a passion and that includes how I play. Obviously, football calls for physical contact, but that's just part of the game," Polamalu said. To illustrate, he offers Jesus' time on earth as an example. "Look at the passion for life that he lived as portrayed in the Stations of the Cross – that fight that he had in him, as well as the love he shared with others. There's no difference."
~"Football, in general, has it backwards," he said. "They think this inner anger, this hatred, is what drives football and becomes the physical aspect of the game. But love overcomes all things. My love to glorify God through my playing will far outweigh anybody's hate for me."
I'll leave you with that one. I'd love any other imput/comments from you other football widows out there, as well as from you men football fans! ;)
~Sia, Vancouver, WA