It’s the tie that binds

The annual Lakeside Fantasy Football draft was held Sunday at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bossier. It’s a tradition we’ve adopted, and it’s one I look forward to with giddy anticipation like a kid for Christmas morning. I love the event, the strategy, the wings, the bonding. It’s a small joy, and sometimes those are the best. It’s also the final sign that we’re almost to that special time of year.

With the arrival of Fall, there comes a promise. A covenant. Fall is for football. And as a nation, nothing unites us like the Gridiron Gladiators fighting for yards and touchdowns up and down those green fields of glory.  The players have different roots. Some are poor, some are not. Some are white. Some are black. Some are from the piney woods and others the big sky country. Some are from the concrete jungles. And we too, the fans, are not the same.

While we fight over the things we understand least, football brings us together like no other force in America. Not movies, not books, certainly not politics, and no other sports. It’s football. We love the game. We rally around the team. Success and interest help our communities improve. School scores increase. Friendships are forged. All based on mutual love for a team.

As humans we have an innate desire to be accepted. We want to be part of something bigger than us. In some ways, we want to be part of something larger than life. We find that in football, as we become a part of something greater than our own lives. Each of us have our own stories filled with individual ups and downs. The beauty of football is that despite having different individual stories, millions of us will find something in our own stories which collides with other stories to create one big American tale. Football becomes a language. It enables us to express ourselves physically, emotionally, and intellectually. It urges connection and communication with others, and does not discriminate based on race, age, religion, culture, or gender.

In a society of lost souls and young people lacking direction, committing crimes, and leaving their mothers in tears, football is a rallying cry, a clarion call for hope, unity, peace, prosperity. It represents the American Dream in terms easily understandable to all. 

So it’s nearly football season, and even though I’m a soccer fan and would love to see Manchester United knock Liverpool off their perch, I think I’d rather see my buddies Greg Parks and Logan Cammack finally see their Cowboys lift the Lombardi Trophy once more. 

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)

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