My love of sports knows no bounds. My mother used to take me to my father’s soccer games when I was a baby. My dad was a central defender on his club team which was comprised of Salvadorians from the Department of Usulutan. My dad was mean too. I remember him getting into fights and taking people out. I watched him play until he was 36. That was the age he decided to call it quits after he jacked up his knee.
My father used to take me to the parks in Houston to teach me how to play–finessing a shot (which made me really good at corners as a kid), pulling on someone’s shorts or stepping on their foot during an incoming header, touch on the ball, eating a taco while juggling and how important body position was to maintaining ball possession. Soccer was ingrained in our family’s life. No matter what, I will always love the beautiful game. I played until I was about 12. At that point I decided to join my middle school football team.
I played right tackle for my middle school team for two years. It was boss. I loved blocking. It’s weird, but I love the thrill of nailing someone and having them fall on their ass. I was a decent tackle, but undersized. My career was short.
I have loved American Football since I was about 6. This was an awful year to start loving the Houston Oilers. Even though they had the best offense in the league and one of the best records, they somehow gave up a 25-point lead in the 1993 Wild Card Playoff game to the Buffalo Bills. I cried. I couldn’t believe Warren Moon would let me down so hard. That was supposed to be the year the Super Bowl was supposed to be an All-Texas affair. Both teams looked dominant. I went to the second-to-last Oilers home game against the 49ers in 1996. I was left teamless for most of my childhood.
When the Texans came into the league I was the angst-driven teenager on earth. 2002 was a good year. Although the team has had its ups and downs, I haven’t missed but a handful of games since the team first snapped the ball. They’re the one team that can disappoint me and I my adoration won’t waiver, unlike the sodding Houston Astros or perennially mediocre Houston Rockets. I still have love for both teams, but the ownership and management have honestly let me down too often (e.g. Astros not re-signing Carlos Beltran, letting go of Johan Santana from our farm system. The Rockets in general).
In my current life as a post-graduate nobody, my work schedule revolves around the NFL. I have refused to work past 11am at Starbucks on Sunday mornings. I need that time to fine-tune my fantasy team and read the injury reports. It’s the only sport I can really do that with.
I love soccer, but there are too many games in Europe and in England to work a schedule around. Chelsea Football Club is always involved in some competition at some inconvenient time, but I always catch up after work.
This obsession might seem nuts to most of you, but there’s something about sport that captures my attention. Sport is a microcosm of human struggle. . Because nearly every football game and soccer match is important, you are assured that there will be heartbreak, pain, joy, beauty and struggle unfolding before your eyes. The sweat and blood that goes into performing at a high level is astounding. The gifts that these men and women possess are a triumph of humanity and our society.
The fact that Western society has the resources to pursue these endeavors is a marvel in itself. Two hundred years ago this wasn’t possible. Now, people have the opportunity to actually do what they love more than ever before. It doesn’t just stop at sports, but music, art and writing are all enterprises we can undertake because of the economic and technological advances we have made. Let’s just take a second to thank the nearest computer for football…
I think we’re lucky to have sports in our lives. We have something that can bring us together, we can partake in and dissect. Sports are a living, breathing form of art.
Can you tell I’m psyched for the NFL season?