Thursday night Wes and I ventured down to my Uncle Mike’s and Aunt Karen’s house to watch the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Diego Chargers in an NFL preseason matchup.
The lockout is over, four grueling months of reiterating legalese is over.
My aunt opened the door and before she could get the door opened, I yelled, “It’s football season!”
“Already? It is?” Aunt Karen said. “Come on in, I figured I would do some vacuuming, no one is home yet.”
The game signifies the start of the football season at the professional and college level. I could go into an in-depth analysis about players or summarize which way I’m leaning when it comes to my Fantasy Football League, but I’m not.
As much as football consumes my Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings, it’s really about close friends and family. My aunt and uncle over the years have graciously opened up their house to their son’s friends as well as to Wes and I. Family such as my grandfather and a smattering of my cousins will trickle in throughout the day to say hello and catch a few plays. In a big Italian family, food is plentiful, drinks are flowing and conversation is loud and boisterous. No one ever grows tired of pizza and wings.
My cousin Mike’s friends and I have also grown close. Sitting in the family room, I’m one of them, offering my insight and tidbits of information I have read throughout the week. Arguments are few and far between, but I’m not afraid to totally dismiss their thinking.
The group is an eclectic bunch of fans ranging from both NFC and AFC conference contenders. Packers, Vikings, Bills, Giants, Cowboys and Dolphins, jerseys and team colors are a representation of pride and hysteria that is fandom.
As a Green Bay Packer fan, I look forward to seeing how the team goes into the season as the defending Super Bowl Champions. It just so happened that last year the Super Bowl fell on my birthday. Ulcer and anxiety aside, it was by far one of the best birthday presents I received — to see the team I grew up watching (my mom has passed her Bart Starr gene down to me) raise the Lombardi Trophy into the air, confetti streaming from the rafters, brought a tear to my eye. Or, maybe it was the one too many glasses of wine I had to calm my nerves, who knows.
All I know is that the smell of pigskin in the air.