Growing up my mother never really watched or cared about sports at all. I remember about 4 years old watching the Detroit Tigers on PASS sports, now Fox Sports Detroit, I would watch these guys smashing this ball with what appeared to be a club of sorts. I would often turn on the tv hoping to find the Tigers playing. I was often letdown and they had stupid horse racing on. I’ve hated horse racing since then. When I did find the Tigers playing I took our fly swatter and would take my swings with the batters on television. My mom thought it was cute except I often bent up her fly swatter.
My mom watched all the games I played in growing up but she’s still not a sports fan. In elementary school I had a teacher who was the best. I went with my mom’s husband to a Muskegon Lumberjacks game and ran into this teacher there. It was the first time I had met a female who loved sports. Now my teacher her husband and two daughters all took me to a game with them one time, It was pretty cool to see a family that all participated in the same things. I recall my teacher and the fans around us giving the referee a hard time by chanting, “Nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts, we got screwed.” Then she looked down at me and said, “Kevie, you don’t say this anywhere else but here.”
My teacher and her husband also took me to some of our high school’s varsity football games. I believe both of her girls were in the band and attended the game for that, but she loves football too and even if her kids weren’t in the band she would have been there. I’ve since met some more women who love sports and I think it’s an awesome thing. A lot of guys may contest that sports are “their” thing, I think being able to share sports with someone you like is great.
Here is an excerpt of an email from my friend Diana.
I was 13 years old when I was introduced to football by my father. He’d watch it every Sunday and I thought it was ridiculous. I told him “football is stupid”. He told me to sit down and watch a game with him and that’s when my love of football began. I remember seeing Joe Montana and Jerry Rice just light up the defenses. The 49ers were my favorite team back then. My dad broke down football terms so I could understand what a touchdown was, what offense meant, what defense meant, etc. I started watching football every Sunday with him. He quizzed me on what he taught me and I would pass. I looked forward to Sunday football with my dad and I began to love on the game of football. I remember watching my first super bowl, it was the 49ers vs the Broncos and the 49ers killed them; the score was like 55 to 15 or something like that. My football Sundays changed forever when my father died. My mother liked football too, but football Sundays was my time with my dad. I decided to honor his memory by continuing to be a fan of the game I came to love. When I discovered who the home team was, my allegiance shifted to the home team and has been there ever since. I became such a fan of the game that me and my mom would support my cousin every Friday night. The Pershing Doughboys! My mom and the other mothers of the team would cook huge meals before and after the game for the team and would support them every week. My cousin was a middle LB and was a beast! He hit one guy so hard one day, that the guy broke his neck. My cousin was so sad, but he didn’t let it deter his tenacity on the field. I became a loyal fan of football in general. I love watching my younger cousin play now. And I have been called delusional from being a Lions fan, but football will always be my first love when it comes to sports. When I went to college, I was told the Buckeyes are my biggest and most bitter rival, and the Spartans are next. Football was a part of me, seared into my heart. Sundays meant church and football…God first of course.
I recently asked my teacher how she became a sports fan. She told me because her dad liked sports and it gave her a chance to get closer to him. I love that teacher and her family.
Sports do bring us together.
I’ve been to games where I didn’t know anyone around me but when our team scored we were high fiving and totally just happy as fans of a team and it was a neat experience. You can’t just walked up to anonymous people and high-five them for no particular reason. Likely to never see each other again but for a moment in time we were fans of a common team. Color, religion, none of that came into play.