I blame it on my Dad, really.
My love of football,it rests solely on the shoulders of him.
My earliest, earliest memories are of being bundled up and taken to football games.
Heck, I was born in Norman, Oklahoma...(home of the Sooners)...I had to love the game!
My Dad coached a (young) team when we lived in Norman. I am too young to remember that, but I am told I made it to every practice and game. I do remember though going to high school and college games from the age of three or four and on. My Dad expected me to sit right beside him and watch the game while we feasted from the popcorn my Mom had sent with us to the game. It was always in a large, brown paper grocery sack. You could see the butter stains on the sack where it leaked through. My Dad would shake the sack when we were in our seats, getting the butter and salt to coat each kernel. We would eat our buttery popcorn and watch...and talk about the game.
I have no doubt I asked a million questions. ...Which was fine...IF I learned from the answers to those questions. If I had asked the same questions week after week I probably would have lost my Friday night ballgame with my Dad!
When we were at local ballgames, many (and much of) the time my Dad walked the sidelines of the game, notepad in his hand and camera around his neck. He owned the local newspaper and he was the reporter as well as the cameraman. He would set me either on the front row of the stands, or sometimes I would even get to sit against the wall that separated the crowd from the team...on the team's side of course! I thought I was very special. And I still knew that no matter where I was sitting I was expected to watch the game.
Later, as my younger siblings got old enough so that they and my Mom could come to the game, I sometimes sat with them as I watched the local games. My favorite spot was still against the wall as my Dad roamed the sidelines though....with my bag of home-popped popcorn.
Later, as my siblings and I became school age, it was my Mother who would load us in the car on Saturday's and drive us to Norman to watch the Sooners play. We had great season-ticket seats that were (at the time) right behind the Sooner team. I not only watched the game intently, I studied the players on the sidelines. I loved to watch how they interacted with each other, the coaches and sometimes even the crowd.
Years go by and I think that the top of my "Boyfriend Criteria" must be the fact that he is a football player. Oh there was plenty of other criteria on that list as well, but that one requirement was right there at the top!
I found the football player of my dreams, married him and went on to have three football players of my own.
(As well as one football cheerleader and another football-crazy daughter.)
Through the years of raising all the football-crazy children, we hosted many, many, many football dinners at our house. We lived only a few blocks from the schools my children attended. Many of their friends lived on farms outside of town. It was easy for our home to be the one where friends gathered.
And of course I wanted to make sure my football players and their friends, and my cheerleader and her friends and my other football lovin' daughter and her friends were fed well before the game...and after the game.
That long story, my friends, is what I use for an excuse of why I have so many football-themed dishes. Generic football and Sooner football...I have several crates of each.
But when I pull them out each Fall, there are a plethora of memories attached to the dishes. Memories of a little girl and her bag of popcorn, sitting with her Daddy learning the game of football. Memories of a young girl watching her boyfriend and her classmates play Memories of a mother sitting through game after game after game and dreading the day her sons no longer played.
Many of my best memories involve the game of football. Some of the sweetest years I ever spent were all the years my sons and their friends play. Football parents forge a strong bond, and there are many special memories attached to those days.
So today we'll use many of those many football dishes for the last time, till they have to be packed away for several months.
And this football loving mama will rue the fact that football season is over once again.
In the old days I would have pulled out my calendar and counted the days till late August when football season once again kicks off. Today though, I will look it up on my phone and mark that kick-off day in August with a special alarm.
Then tomorrow when I am packing dishes away in the dish closet and lugging football "extras" to the basement, I will once again blame it on my Dad.
After all, it really is his fault. He's the one that took his little girl to all those games and expected her to actually learn the game of football. He had no idea what he was starting!
Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday!