So the Super Bowl happened, or at least that’s what my parents tell me. As you can tell, I did not watch it. The only condition in which I would maybe watch it would be if the Saints, who hail from my hometown, went to the Super Bowl, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the case this year. I know I could Google the teams who played but I don’t care to because, quite frankly, I blame football for all my misfortunes in life.
“Surely, this is an exaggeration,” you may think, and while, technically, you aren’t wrong, I’m certain that football is a major contributing factor to my woes. Sure, I don’t have some long story about how I was concussed while playing football and how that has had long-term effects on my health, yada yada yada. That’d be quite far from the truth because I am more likely to be concussed by a coconut falling down from the top shelf of my closet and hitting my head. If you think that is improbable, I’ll have you know it’s not. It happened to my mother, and history often repeats itself. It is quite a funny anecdote, but it’s not mine to tell. The story I have to tell is about how society’s praise of football destroyed one small girl’s faith in her athletic ability.
It started in sixth grade when I was merely five-feet tall, years before I realized that I would only grow one more inch. The Saints had just won their only Super Bowl win the year before, and I took more pride in the Saints-themed costumes I made for my stuffed animals the day they won than I did for the team. Back then, I only thought that the sport of football was stupid and I believed it wasn’t a malignant force of nature, but, oh, I was so young, so innocent, so naive. (I’m still technically those things, but for the sake of narration and dramatism, we will proceed as if I am no longer.)
That year, the girls and the boys in my class began to play football at recess, and the scandals that came from this boy-girl interaction would make no one but my eleven-year-old self blush. On the grounds of modesty and the fact that football is stupid, I refused to play the game with my so-called peers and instead played jail-break with the few girls, who weren’t plagued with the football-fever. During this period of my life, I began to stew a certain, and until now secret, hatred for football, not just on the playground but everywhere else. It had divided my grade into those that played football and those that didn’t, those that interacted with the other gender and those that didn’t. Needless to say, I began to look forward to the all-girls high school I was to attend in the coming years, unaware that I would hate it by the time I graduated.
Because football was the main game on the playground that I did not participate in, I never learned how to be aggressive, a quality which as far as I can tell is necessary to play football. But alas, now I must suffer the consequences as the non-aggressive person that I am. Which means that I didn’t have the guts to tell this one guy off in one of my classes for completely shutting down every comment I made in our small group discussion, even though my comments were later endorsed by the professor himself. A guy who, whenever I see him and even as I now write about him, makes my eye twitch with rage even though this all happened a year ago, because how dare he?
Perhaps, if I had been embedded with the aggression that the love football embeds in so many, I would be bolder, assertive. Without football, everyone would be as passive as I am, I’m sure of it, so there would be no aggression. Only stifled anger that would occasionally come out in the form of passive-aggression. What wonderful world that would be. But one can only dream, and for now, I must live with the fact that football is the bane of my existence.