Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Football is Over
All the festive tacos have been consumed. The lights are off; the house is deserted. Outside, the wind howls and snow falls softly, blanketing your barren yard in an ocean of whiteness. The details have been blotted out with a big blob of plaster patch. In the darkness you stare up at the ceiling, wondering what you will do with your life. It's gone, you know. Your purpose for existence. There will be no more football for months.
No more concussions. No more domestic violence disputes. No more spaghetti-armed heroes making their last hurrahs. What will you do without seeing your favorite representative of American values? Peyton stands for pizza; he stands for insurance; he stands for privilege and athletic ability trumping anything else. All of it is wrapped up in a goofy hillbilly accent that disarms you and lulls you to sleep. "Nationwide is on your side." Yes, Peyton. And so are you.
The whole house comes together beneath the wide umbrella of football. Your wife has a reason to clean the house and bake a dozen cookies. Your children sit on the couch and lazily watch the game in-between texting their friends. Your buddies come over with a case of beer and everyone has a grand ol' drunken time. The NBA, MLB, college basketball--nobody cares like they care about football. The power of the NFL is on display every time it draws your fractured world together like a black hole sucking in stray rays of light.
What will you talk about with the boys now? There is nothing to talk about. The weight of existence sits on your shoulders like a million tons. You feel driven into the earth like a railway spike. It's cold outside--it's always cold outside, you realize, even in the summer. Some part of you desires the warmth and comfort of the womb and wishes that you had never left that state of semi-consciousness. You can't crawl back, though. The pathway of your life materializes in front of you like a roadmap through a desert. It doesn't really matter that you can see where you are going. You don't want to get there.
So come back to us, Peyton. Let us hear your funeral song once more. In your thin geriatric arms we will find release from our burdens. We want to watch you win one for the team. We want to watch you win one for ourselves. If your head falls from your shoulders after a three-hundred pound lineman sacks you, well, you will have suffered a martyr's death. We would trade places with you in an instant.