Day 3: On Football and Family

Sundays in our house are Football Sundays. At least during football season. Right now, we’re enthralled with the NFL playoffs. This morning, the kids were so excited when they woke up. One of the first things they asked about was whether or not the Patriots won last night.(They went to bed after what they found to be a deeply disappointing Saints loss. Lucas actually cried a bit.) Luckily, the Patriots had a convincing win over the Broncos. “Looks like Tebow Time is over now,” was Logan’s response.

I watch football and enjoy doing so, but Nigel and the kids study it. Logan was the first convert. She watches and knows players’ names from all kinds of teams. She has clear opinions about players, plays, and teams. Lucas has followed her lead and not only sits through most of a game, but also is beginning to learn team names and to keep track of scores. The couch is the center of the action on Sundays, and while the kids pop on and off the couch for occasional lego building, snacks, bathroom breaks, and to do Aaron Rogers’ celebration dance when the State Farm discount double check commercial comes on, they mainly spend the afternoon alongside their Dad getting caught up in the excitement of football.

We’re a Patriots family. We are transplanted New Englanders after all, which makes us more loyal to this team than we were when we lived further north. But the kids also root for all kinds of teams; they don’t watch a game without cheering for someone and they get deeply invested in one team for every game played. They especially like teams with animal names like the Miami Dolphins or the Philadelphia Eagles. What happens when the Dolphins play the Patriots? Major dilemma. For them, animals are more exciting to cheer for than a group of patriots.

What is great about these football moments is that Nigel gets to enjoy football while sharing his knowledge and enjoyment of the game with our kids. As they watch each game, or pieces of games, the kids ask Nigel questions, he explains plays and calls to them, and they all cheer or gasp together depending on the situation. They are sharing and developing a mutual passion. Nigel also gets plenty of chances to model how to root for a team, and how to deal with your favorite team’s ineffective plays, bad decisions, and tough losses. Important lessons they can practice on the soccer field (since I’ve banned Lucas from playing football), when playing board games together or with friends, or even when they have an off day at school.

Most importantly, the kids are spending memorable time with their Dad. I smile at these moments because they also remind me of times I spent watching boxing matches on Thursday nights with my father. My heart warms when I think of the times we sat, watching, oohing at an avoided right hook, gasping at a connected upper cut, marveling at the swift footwork of a lightweight. Those times resulted in so many impromptu conversations just because we were in the same space spending time together.

Is there a favorite pastime you share with your children? Is there one you remember sharing with a loved one?

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9 Responses to Day 3: On Football and Family

  1. David K says:

    As I get older, I try to watch less football, as reflected in my poor performance in the fantasy football league every year. With respect to boxing, has your attitude changed to that “sport”? Would you watch boxing with your kids the same way you watched as a kid? I think football may have already crossed a line into socially unacceptable. Boxing was born on the other side of that line.

    • I love your last line here! Well put! No, I wouldn’t watch boxing with my kids now. It’s a different kind of event now and we now see the negative long-term effects on a boxer’s brain. My father boxed a bit in the Navy so I always thought it was kind of cool to watch other people fighting like he may have. He and even taught me a few moves (but that’s a story for another day…).

  2. Sedef Piker says:

    I love the way you can wax lyrical about football, this makes me reconsider all those weekends we had to spend at home because my husband HAD to watch the game. Good for you… your kids and especially Nigel is very lucky… I guess it must have something to do with the culture as well, since my father was never much into sports and Cenk would spend most of his weekend in his room watching the games… But we had discussions around the kitchen table about history, culture and politics almost every night. Food is a major clincher in our family. I think some of the most memorable moments I have shared throughout my life with all my loved ones involve food, shopping at the local bazaars, cooking together, preparing the table and enjoying a fulfilling meal prepared with love. We tend to turn any meal into a celebration given the right opportunity…
    But after reading your post, I will try to sit with Mehmet and watch a game or two…

    • I think you’re right, Sedef. There is a culture around sports and you are drawn to participating in it especially if you are accustomed to it. I’m glad, though, that you plan to watch a game to see what all the fuss is about. I suggest watching during the playoffs of any sport — football, basketball, especially baseball and hockey are so much more interesting when it’s playoff time! Oh, and don’t forget college basketball’s March Madness. Awesome even if you know nothing about the teams! I am so appreciative that I’ve enjoyed often the meals in your parents’ home. Such welcoming and delicious gatherings. Thank you for reading my post and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Sharad Vivek says:

    while i can put myself in the same category of football/sports fan as Nigel, i have failed miserably as a sports father. I coached Laila’s AYSO soccer team, and her biggest issue was that i put her her in a ponytail as opposed to letting her wear 3 of her 10 matching headbands…sadly, our victories as a team also bordered on the moral.

    thats a very sweet memory about your father. I dont think i knew that about him. I think sports is a great American social institution (one that my wife still doesnt quite accept in they way that i do). I still enjoy playing/watching and i think i want to introduce my kids to sports as a fan but also as a parent. Sports was always a source of light contention growing up. With my father advocating it and my mother thinking that it garnered way too much importance in life. I’d say my pops won out. But right now i am losing that battle with my girls. While Laila has asked me to coach her team again next season, our family TC watching revolve more around the Food Channel and House Hunters International.

    • Nigel Furlonge says:

      I haven’t coached my kids. I think this would be hard to do. My few forays into giving athletic advice during soccer games has not been productive. Mainly because Logan would listen to everything I say, which isn’t a good idea, and Lucas wouldn’t listen to anything I say, also not a good idea.

    • Don’t be too quick to knock House Hunters! 🙂 What are the big sports on the Island?

  4. Rhonda :) says:

    ahh……football….how we love us some football. Aidan has become quite an avid sports fan…er, eh…I should say an avid Boston sports fan whereas Dylan presently prefers non-Boston teams (with the strong exception of the Red Sox of course!) Dylan’s hockey team is none other than the Leafs believe it or not!

  5. Wendy says:

    You make me laugh when you said animals are always more exciting to cheer for! That’s totally true. I agree with Logan.

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