Football season is back.
And by football season, I refer not to the NFL or college or even high school football. I don’t actually even mean Pee-Wee or whatever we call little kid league football, because nope.
I mean football in our yard.
The boys really seem to like football. I mean, who wouldn’t? First of all, there’s a ball. Then there’s all kinds of tackling, and what’s more fun than tackling people, especially your brother. I also understand why they like the high school football team. You’ve got that whole Friday Night Lights thing, literally, with the lights and the cheering and the autumnal air and the feel of Friday night football in Midwestern America.
I get it.
Then there’s that thing that we do, that thing I don’t agree with, where we revere our high school football players. Not really our soccer players or our baseball players or our cross country runners any other team or individual sport and their players. We send the football players and their cheerleaders to local preschools, into elementary classrooms. We present them as these gods among men.
And then we let them get away with things. Steubenville was not the first nor the last high school to (attempt to) try to cover up what their football players did. And that’s why we get college players and then NFL players who feel invincible, like the rules don’t apply to them. It’s how we get coaches that feel as though they’re above the rules, that they can do what they want with other people, other human beings.
Football makes me uneasy anymore.
But not in my yard.
In my yard, it’s about two brothers tackling each other, about throwing the ball, about running as fast as you can to the other side of the back yard. It’s about time together with their dad, with their mom behind the camera sometimes and sometimes throwing a pass for them to catch. It’s about the summer slowly fading into fall, the evenings getting a bit shorter each night. It’s about spending as much time as we can outside, together. Brothers. Family. Us.