There are three things that have been a part of my family tradition for what seems forever and a day. Football, Family, Friends and faith are all part of my American dream. For millions of Americans these four F’s have become part of what we know as the annual right of passage from early September to the Middle of February. For many of us that have grown up playing the best game on earth (American Football), yes the one that you hit and tackle people while playing. It all begins with kids playing in the backyard, in the road, a field or on a hill at a friday night varsity home game. We all began out football career by tackling, rolling down hills, getting smashed up, hit, beat on and ran over by our older siblings, cousins and best buds.
Then we start playing little league, pee wee or pop warner depending on where you live and what it is called. That is when it starts getting more serious and we have to learn to be the best we can, be tough, have faith in ourselves and learn a system of depending on family and friends. Then we go to middle school and it gets even more serious. Throw in some AAU travel football and it is feeling for real then. Teamwork, family, friends and faith become part of who we are as we battle with each other and for one another. We represent our communities, families, schools, teams and neighborhoods the best we can.
Then high school comes along and many of those that played younger begin to drop like flies. Suddenly it is more than a game. It has become something bigger than the individual and is truly a family and team sport. Families line up outside and pay the gate fee to support their kids and neighbors. They tailgate eating good food enjoying family and friends before the big game. The players, coaches and fans fellowship on preparation for the big battle about to take place. Football teaches us how to win, lose, battle, fight, overcome, endure and be a better person. It teaches us to have faith in ourselves, family, community, friends and God.
Then some of us work hard enough to play on Saturdays in front of big crowds at various levels. Some in big time arenas in front of 100,000 people at the highest level. We see the blessing in that and how fortunate we were to be able to do that playing a game that we simply love. Others play small ball in front of a few hundred people in the stands. Either way, the game is played hard and means just as much regardless of the size of the stadium or arena. Regardless of the level of ball it is about football, family, friendships and faith. I developed all of these playing ball from pee wee to mid level college football.
I have stood on the sidelines as a player, coach and parent hearing the national anthem which still gives me the goose bumps on Friday night. I have played, coached and watched high level ball. I have played, coached and watch low level ball. All in all I have found that football, family, friends and faith are what has made me who I am today. I am a piece of Americana because of Football. God Bless football, family, friends and faith!