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Femme Problems 137: What’s So Great About Football Players?



Apparently it’s playoff season and football fans all over the country are either rooting for their favorite team to make it to the Super Bowl or crying over that final game that cemented their team’s fate for 2015. No matter where you live, where you go, or where you drink, football fanatics are everywhere, and quite frankly, they scare me. But nothing scares me more than America’s obsession with this sport, its players, and its hold on the American temperament.

When someone’s team loses, people lose it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat around the table as people fight, yell, and literally argue over football. I will never understand how people can get entirely too wound up about a team of people that they don’t know and most likely have never met. I guess we have the media to thank for that. After all, I know more about Ray Rice and Michael Vick than most people know about the supreme court or how congress runs. While domestic violence and dog fighting are social issues that surely deserve addressing, I can’t help feeling a sense of disparity that it’s only because of these high profile people—these football players—that these issues gain any traction in the media at all.

Admittedly, I’m no football expert. Despite serving four years in my high school marching band, I truly never watched, cared for, or understood the game. The downs, the plays, the rules…it never made much sense to me. Like most sports, I simply wonder, what is the point? So you beat the odds and landed a gig on an NFL team. Congratulations! Apparently that makes you an American hero or something.

After suffering tons of peer pressure from friends and my football loving fianceé, I decided to get over my football phobia and attend not one, but two NFL games this year.

First and foremost, I have to say, Redskins’ fans are the most loyal bunch of people I’ve ever met. I was actually quite shocked to see the pile of cars in the parking lot and the thousands upon thousands of people crawling into their seats when I attended the home game against the Buccaneers. As I looked around I wondered, why are we here? Don’t the Redskins always lose? Well, they sure did and they sure do, but for these fans, it’s not about winning. It’s about pride and supporting your team. And throwing that pride in everyone’s face as you drive down the interstate in your SUV, Redskins flags waving from the windows.

The Raven’s game was a different experience entirely. The pomp and circumstance of jets flying, fireworks sparking, and crowd cheering certainly suggested that someone’s still excited about their big 2013 Super Bowl win. Before I knew it, I found myself yelling out calls and really getting into the craze. I felt like a fan. After receiving my very own Suggs jersey for Christmas, I knew it was official: I am a fan. But I’m a fan with a sense of awareness, a fan who can manage her emotions, and a fan who still sees through an industry that capitalizes on people’s need to care about something greater than themselves.

Sure, there are some great things about football. When the Raven’s brought local football coaches and athletes onto the field to recognize and reward their excellence and effort, I realized that football can be about so much more than just a bunch of guys on a field, taking in all the glory and bragging about the number of yards they ran on social media. Sports are about dignity, strength, and determination. What the American public has turned it into, however, is something else entirely.