Peyton and his brother Eli Manning were in a funny NFL commercial last summer about football on your phone. One of the lines is:
Look at this guy using his phone as a phone.
Your phone ain’t for calling, your phone’s for football.
I love football. No shocker there. But what I love is that for me, football isn’t just about football, it’s about relationships.
Being firmly rooted in my Denver Broncos love, I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with folks from all over the country living abroad. Sundays are like a big family reunion for me.
A Pittsburgh score flashes and I think: Dae! Before big games, we call each other and one year she sent me some Steeler Cookies in the mail. Dae, want some Broncos cookies :)? It’s life giving to talk football with her, because she can hold. her. own! She even had her small group praying for my family after the Broncos beat the Steelers a few years ago in a playoff game. My dad was injured at the game and they are classy.
Packers? My teammate of two years –Erin. We once wrote a joint newsletter to supporters and wove in the Broncos and Packers. They also remind be of David Shaller – who hadn’t met a woman who could “talk football.” Joseph Kerski? Hello!
Another Packer memory involves the Superbowl between the Broncos and the Packers. In Thailand, the Superbowl in Monday morning – 6:18 a.m. (not that that it’s seared into my memory or anything). I was supposed to teach a class on Monday morning to eight folks new to Asia. It was a horrible feeling to realize that we FINALLY got to the Superbowl and where was I going to be? Talking to eight strangers with resentment building in my heart. I threw a hail Mary and asked my boss if I could start the class after the game ended. He said if I got permission from each of the participants, I could.
Picture me knocking on eight stranger’s doors, “Hi, my name is Amy and I’m your teacher tomorrow morning. Turns out my beloved Broncos are in the Superbowl, would you mind if we started class after the game ends? Oh and by the way, I’m not really as nutty as I appear.” Or maybe I am, desperate smile. Eight yeses! And an unintended hosting of a Superbowl party in my hotel room.
Indianapolis Colts: Steve Sanders. Lizzie Talcott.
Baltimore Ravens: Kristalyn
New Orleans Saints: One of my dad’s doctors
Seattle Seahawks: Reading Something for Joey in seventh grade (also why I wanted to go to Penn State for a while – John Cappelletti went there and the name sake for my guinea pig: Cappelletti). Additionally, my small group members Kyle and Windy love them — which will make for an interesting gathering after the next Sunday. But truly, will all be good, regardless of the outcome.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. For me, football isn’t just about football, it’s helped tell the story of me, keep my memories, anchor my relationships, and hold the past while moving forward.
My dear Broncos have also tied me to others. Emails, texts, and FB messages have flowed in the last few weeks and the theme has been, I don’t care a hoot for the Broncos, but I saw they won and I thought of you and your dad. I’m happy for you!
We each have them, memory and story holders. Places we use to remember people and pray for them. In his mercy, God uses the ordinary to create holy space. Bread is not mere bread. A song becomes worship. A memory, holy ground. I’m not trying to elevate football, I’m trying to show that in his infinite mercy and creativity, God can use anything to delight and weave together his children.
Football is one of the ways for me, what’s one of yours?
Go Broncos!!! and Hi Aaron.
Hi Amy…. I have actually never watched more than a few minutes of an American football game (Australian in China)… But it looks like I will be watching the game this year… I am going to stay for the weekend with some friends…. and your team is their team…. I am looking forward to it now!
Thanks Jennifer, if nothing else, I hope you have fun with your friends!
Mark Allman says
I totally agree Amy. Many of my relationships have gotten help due to football being a common language. It brings people together like a nice dinner. You cheer together or against and you want to talk about fairness and who got hurt. It is like its part of your family that being your favorite team. “We had someone hurt in our family this past weekend…. it was Aaron Rodgers.” I don’t think anyone would watch for long if they did not know who was playing and their names and their history. It all plays into the richness of relationships and being able to share with friends things you know and them with you brings closeness.
It reminds me of that song Just fishing…. about the father and daughter doing all stuff together with the daughter thinking they were just fishing but the father knows different … .it’s never just fishing no matter what, not fishing, not eating out, not football…..
I trained my daughter Esther in Basketball .. we would spend alot of time on the basics and shoot alot. I have told her and recently wrote her a note on her 21st birthday that “and she thought we were just shooting” :)
Mark, that’s it exactly … the shared language. Recently I was watching a KU basketball game with a friend and, you’re right, hearing and talking about different players and bits of their life. And what a gift of memories and shared experiences you gave to your daughter!
David Rupert says
So, are you praying for victory? I’vebeen thinking about those that do — and am just wondering .
David, no, I don’t tend to pray for victories (I can’t say I never have, but it was a long time ago). I’m hoping (not sure I’d even call it praying) for a good game and no serious injuries. I think there are as many Christian folk who are Seahawk fans :) … I just hope I’m happier than them on Sunday evening!
Amy: You have hit on a wonderful truth about the mysterious way God connects us all and presents new lessons to us. I think God loves using joy to make his point but not always. I have lived thru so many different odd things but something told me there had to be a reason, of course sometimes the Holy Spirit has to yell that in my ear while I’m hung up in the emotions of the moment.
Football has had a very odd role in my life; my childhood was pure joy playing the game. Little did I know, yes the Bronco’s you love so dearly, would play a role in my healing process. When I was injured at work I needed better than your average doctors. Some of the most potent life altering relationships I forged are with the Bronco’s doctors. John Elway’s shoulder injury was something we had about the same time and it was his injury that gave our doctors the knowledge necessary to help me with mine.
It was my injury to my collar bones that led these same doctors to find the surgery I learned about in prayer. That surgery was performed on me and saved my life in so many different ways. Because of my insistence that the procedure existed, I told them you do your job and find the surgery and I’ll hold the faith for both of us. I knew God wouldn’t let me down and He didn’t! Now these same men have a whole new way to fix the collar bones on the Avalanche Hockey Team in Denver ( the guys that need it most frequently which allows them to keep playing) and a host of other people.
Prayer with faith is such a powerful tool! God’s answers however, are absolutely AWESOME inspiration in path and design and I wouldn’t change it for anything! He makes life this incredible adventure even if all you have left is going to a doctor. God even thought of the scenery in these doctor’s offices to bring me joy, other patients that just happen to be in there because they play for the Broncos, the Avalanche, the Rockies, etc. These guys are really nice people and we all laugh at our war stories and injuries.
Thanks for such an interesting comment and insight into a bit of sports medicine in Denver! Love it that God is at work. Amy
The photo of you holding a sign for Kristalyn, is that your father in the background? You, my dear blogger for God, are beautiful! And, whether or not that is your dad, he looks very sweet.
Thanks Susan :) … and yes, that’s my dad and sweet is one of the most commonly used words to describe him! He is :)!
Katherine Johnson says
Oh Monday morning superbowls in Thailand…so many memories! And I’m sorry, but GO HAWKS! (Yes, my marriage and move has quite decidedly converted me….we all know my college allegiances were too strong to be shifted, but the pros? That was one team I could actually unite with my husband on. :))