So, the Superbowl. I watched it — and I mean really and truly WATCHED it — for the first time on Sunday.
I’ve been exposed to it, of course. It’s been on in my presence but I can’t say I ever really paid any attention to that whole football part. This year was different.
It’s funny, one of my most vivid memories of my dad, who died when I was five, was watching the Giants in the living room of our house, with my dad pointing out Phil Simms #11 to me. And for most of my life, that is all the football I knew — and I was proud to be able to spout off “Phil Simms #11” when any football-related conversation came up. Long after Phil Simms was relevant in that way.
And it always impressed the boys. Hello boys.
Watching Phil Simms #11 was one of my few clear memories of spending time with my father (you can read about a music-related memory here) and even though I did not particularly understand or care about football, I considered myself a Giants fan because of that memory. Because my dad loved them and I wanted to preserve that.
My little brother is two years younger than me and was too young to share that Giants memory. He became a Jets fan and even then, I remained aligned with my dad and his Giants. When the Giants won the Superbowl in 2008, I was alone in my apartment with the game on in the background. I was not very cool. But I remember paying attention at the end and I feeling absolutely elated when they won. I called my mom and said “Daddy would have loved this.”
And when I walked past the parade setting up on my way to work that day, I felt pride.
This year was different. I happened to fall in love with a boy from Boston. A boy who happens to be extremely into sports. A boy who works at a well-known sports organization. A boy who desperately wanted his Patriots to win. A boy who has the biggest man-crushes I have ever seen a straight man have — on Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Seriously. For months, all I’ve heard is how handsome they are.
And while I semi-watched football with my boyfriend all season, for the first time on Sunday, I actually paid attention to the entire game. No Kindle. No computer. My focus was on the TV and I was surprisingly able to follow it and understand most of it.
I rooted against my dad’s Giants. And I may have worn Patriots pajama pants (please don’t hate me, every person I know).
The Giants win is bittersweet for me, but the emphasis is on bitter. But I want so much to see my boyfriend smile, see him happy, celebrate with him. It hurts me that he is hurting. I can’t describe the sadness I feel when in the middle of the night, he wakes up and says only “Poor Andy” before going back to sleep.
I think I know how he feels, because I felt that way after the NYC Marathon.
Because I’m not a girl who ever legitimately cared about sports, I don’t feel like I’m a traitor (my mom tends to disagree – hi Mom!). How can I be a traitor of something I never really cared about? I love my dad, but given that the extent of my Giants knowledge before this year was a player who retired almost 20 years ago, can I really be considered a traitor? Yes, I’m from New York, but really, what is it to me what teams I root for? I never cared much on my own. I always wanted New York teams to win, but again, what is it really to me? I don’t follow the players or the teams. I just wanted them to win for the sake of winning.
And now — if they’re playing against Andy’s teams — I don’t.
And I cannot believe I just wrote an entire post about football. I think next week I’ll talk about my shift away from barre classes. I am still me, after all. Just with a few new alliances.