Life Without Pro Football
For over twenty years, I’ve spent most every fall Sunday afternoon, Monday night, and Thursday night watching NFL football games. It was a comfortable habit, one I enjoyed immensely. My kids would look at me in amazement as I shouted at a TV screen for hours.
Then, the league’s reaction to Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the American flag, led me to stop watching, to boycott the league. I’m not given to excessive flag-waving, but this insult to the country was not something I wanted to condone or support. The players can do what they want on their own time, stand or sit, protest or not, I don’t care. But when they take the field in the uniform of a team in a professional sports league in America I expect them to show basic respect for the American flag. The NFL tried to do the politically correct thing not the right thing and they let this political display spoil the game. There are so many arenas where people express themselves politically; the sports arena should not be one of them.
So I stopped watching. It was hard at first. But after a week or two, I found myself feeling a bit disloyal every time I lingered for a second on a pro football game as I surfed through channels. I started watching college games and that eased the transition. By the third week I realized I had kicked the habit. The urges were gone. I didn’t care anymore. I realized there was a lot going on Sunday afternoons besides pro football. I was going to places and events I never would have thought of before. Even staying home was a plus — all those odd repairs and do-it-yourself projects were getting done.
I guess I could go back for a few games every so often assuming both teams made it clear that every player would be standing and showing respect for the flag. Maybe they should sing America the Beautiful or some other song or have a patriotic display at halftime so the message is unmistakably clear. But it will be a long time till never that I go back to the way it was where I was immersed in pro football. I’ve learned there is life without pro football and it’s not so bad at all.