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Opening Day

I love watching sports. After my parents separated, when I was about 5 years old, I started spending the summers with my dad, and the surest way to quality time with his was sitting down with him to watch baseball and soccer. It was the ’80s, back when TBS still carried all the Braves games even though the team was terrible. He taught me the rules of the game and exactly when it was appropriate to yell back at the television, something that sort of annoyed my mom when I was back with her.

In middle school, I started playing basketball, and though I turned out to be not much of a player, I loved watching it. For the last two years, I’ve taken a day off work to enjoy the first Thursday of March Madness. Dedication takes effort, after all.

The one American sport I could never quite grasp was football. When I was in high school, I went to all the Friday night games, but that was as much a social event as anything else. You couldn’t have paid me, back then, to watch an NFL game. They lasted for three hours even though individuals plays, which looked to me just like a group of men jumping into a big pile, rarely went longer than five seconds. There were way too many commercials for someone who grew up in a soccer-loving country, a fact that was only amusing during the Super Bowl, the highlight of which for me was getting to eat seven-layer dip.

But I married a guy who loves football, specifically the Broncos, so in the last few years I’ve tried to make an effort. He has patiently answered all of my questions (How can a receiver “interfere” when the ball is being passed to him?), and since I enjoy watching SportsCenter, I actually know the names of a lot of players as well as their injury status.

My husband says he realized I really loved him, when I sat down to watch the 2006 NFL draft. That was the year the Broncos drafted their current starting quarterback Jay Cutler, so I like to think that Jay and I joined Bronco Nation at the same time. He hasn’t quite lived up to his potential as a quarterback, and I certainly haven’t lived up to mine as a fan. So on the day the New York Giants open NFL play against the Washington Redskins, I affirm that I am looking forward to a memorable season.

GO BRONCOS! (I hope that sounded convincing.)


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