I love football. This has not always been the case. I grew up a baseball girl. Football was okay, it was an excuse to go out on a Friday night in high school. I used to tolerate it but when Ed and I were first dating I began to understand it more and now look forward to football season.

One of the things that helped this conversion was when Nephew #1 started playing. He played a few years of youth football and then four years in High School. There was a connection to the team. I loved the cold November nights in play offs and championship games. I loved the good anxiety of the win. It was awesome. He has been out of high school a few years now, but over the course of that time various family members have become involved in the football program at his alma mater. My brother is the assistant athletic trainer for football along with Nephew #1’s dad, Chip, who is the head of sports medicine there. My sister-in-law, the former EMT, also helps out. Over the course of time, I have scored a sideline badge and a spot on the sports medicine team. Truth be told, my job is primarily to help clean up, set up the kickers practice net and wash out the giant Gatorade jugs. But it gets me into the games and scores me a prime view of the action. Plus it gives me some incredible bonding time with Niece #1 & #3.

Last year, Ed got involved in officiating for the local youth and high school football programs. And he absolutely loves it. His second year is underway and it makes me happy to see him so happy! Needless to say, he does not get to hang out with us on the sidelines much anymore because he is working. I think that he misses it a little but the action and the camaraderie of working other games is a reasonable substitute. And occasionally he will work one of the games that we are at. That is always fun to watch (and maybe laugh at a little.)

This past Friday night was the first game of the season. Ed has worked a Freshman game on Thursday night and actually got to come to the PHS game. It was a tough loss but the thrill of the game started all over. It is funny that we follow the Bobcats so closely now. They are up the hill from Chico. Neither Ed nor myself went to school there but they have taken the place of our own former high schools as our favorite.

One of my favorite parts of the night is hanging out with my SIL and the girls. Niece #3 has an affinity to sports and seems to be picking up the rules as she gets older. Niece #1 just likes to chat with us and make observations about things. This week, she was excited because there is a male cheerleader on the cheerleading squad this year (Yay! We all thought that was cool.) and high school boys are smelly. There is always a lot of cheering and laughing. And funny conversations.

Me: Where is Uncle Ed now?
Niece #3: He is down the sidelines, Nini. He is with his zebra friends. We have lost him.

I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.

So as this week gives us the beginning of the NFL season on Thursday night. I wish you a great season, a winning Fantasy team and some happy tailgating.

TA-DA! And Go Bobcats!!