My husband loves sports.
I do not.
My husband has said multiple times that it’s only because he’s married to me that he watches so few sporting events. He loves all sports, but for our entire marriage he has mainly stuck to New England sports (really just football and baseball), and The World Cup.
Yes, we celebrate New England sports. The Red Sox, the Bruins, the Celtics, and yes, the Patriots.
Through all the rolled eyes. Through all the nasty words. Through all the people who root against the Patriots more than they root for their own team. Through “Deflategate”. We are Patriots fans.
And yet, saying we are fans seems like an understatement. My husband loves Patriots football. I mean, he LOVES it! When they lose, he feels it. When they win, he feels that too. Every time the Patriots have been in the Superbowl, my husband takes the next day off from work because, whether the Patriots win or lose, my husband spends so much energy watching the game that he is drained.
Honestly, I don’t understand it, but my grandpa was the same way. He loved sports. He was the kind of person that would watch a game on TV, listen to another on the radio, and read about last night’s games in the newspaper. At my parent’s house, the sports section was always up for grabs if we were making pinatas or stuffing a package for shipping. But at my grandpa’s house, the sports section was sacred and took a special place next to his recliner.
My husband’s love of sports is one thing that drew me to him. I loved his passion. Then we got married and it annoyed me.
My grandma did not care for sports, and was often annoyed as well. But once after my grandpa died, my grandma came to visit. One evening, my husband turned on ESPN and my grandma moved to sit next to him. “I never thought I’d miss this,” she said. “Who’s playing?”
Football only exists because people are interested in it. Is it the competition? The cheerleaders? The chicken wings and cheese dip? The awe at the men who devote their lives to it? It’s probably different for everyone. For us, it seems to be the camaraderie. The rules. The suspense. The family that gathers and roots together for a team we’ve followed for life.
I know that praying for our team to win is futile, but it’s also tempting. Knowing how interested my husband is in New England football, how their loss affects him, how the forcing of Tom Brady’s break is confusing, I want to fight for the Patriots.
My three year-old asked this afternoon, “Why isn’t Tom Brady playing tonight?” and I told him what I know as truth: “Some people think he didn’t follow the rules.”
I’m not going to go into all the details, mainly because I don’t know all of them. But I know this: someone accused Tom Brady of violating rules, and though no actual proof has been given, Tom Brady is not allowed to play the first four games of this season. Bill Belichick said he knew nothing about the under-inflation, and that they would cooperate with investigations. Tom Brady said the accusation was ridiculous.
It’s just football. But really it’s not. It’s family. It’s community. It’s friendly competition. But now, it’s something else. Is the word tragedy too strong? This is accusation calming the name of fairness. This is petty and proofless.
I have been on Tom Brady’s side of accusation. Have you?
When we sold our house, the inspector misdiagnosed a crushed spider on the ceiling as water damage. He told our buyers that our roof was unstable, that it had to be completely redone. Actually, it just looked a little different because it was a modular house. The inspector also accused us of tampering with a radon test that he had left in our home three days too long. He said that our dishwasher and HVAC didn’t work, and that he couldn’t open our windows. Luckily our buyers were reasonable and when we told them how this was all untrue, they believed us.
I don’t know what actually happened to the football on January 18, 2015, but all this accusation seems ridiculous.
Now, Tom Brady has to sit down.
I am not going to pray for The Patriots to win (though I admit I have on occasion), but I will pray for a peaceful household during the game. I will pray for my husband to enjoy himself. I will pray for Tom Brady, the one who sits accused, because we all sit accused sometimes. While accusation is harsh and hurtful, sitting can provide rest and a fresh perspective.
While Tom Brady sits, I will too. I’ll be in my home. My face won’t be on national TV, but I’ll be sitting with my own team, my family, still rooting for the New England Patriots.