Football,  Sports

Learning about Heartbreak

So much to say, but I just don’t want to talk about it.

However, sometimes it needs to be said, so instead of wasting an entire evening diving into another post about how I tend to dislike sports about the same time, every friggin’ year, I’ll just briefly write about what’s on my mind.

NOTE: After finishing I’ve decided, I didn’t really briefly write about it. So here’s another sad post about football. I need a new hobby.

Learning about Heartbreak

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We were all smiles before the game. Afterwards … one of us was in tears.

My eldest son, 10-years-old, is a Green Bay Packer fan, has been since he became a sports fan 3-4 years ago. Why Green Bay? His favorite color is green. Now he owns two Aaron Rodgers jerseys, a Clay Matthews figurine, and a Rodgers figurine.

If you paid attention to football on Sunday I won’t have to tell you about how he learned about the heartbreak of sports, and really, just heartbreak in general.

His team was minutes away from the Super Bowl. But I warned him. I had seen these Seahawks pull off some wacky stuff in the fourth quarter. Tease teams for three quarters then turn them into a blowout. This was different, but still, teams are scared, extremely tentative when they face Seattle. Teams take the conservative rout, not running back interceptions, just running the ball for the last few drives. Afraid of making mistakes doing what they normally do, they instead make mistakes doing what they’re not used to doing (recovering onside kicks, playing defense on two-point conversions). Understandable, Seattle’s defense is scary, and allows just enough time for their offense to figure out what they need to do to win the game. And they did.

And when they did my son’s emotions of happiness and triumph, turned into sadness and defeat. It was crushing to watch. I understood it. I’ve been through what he’s gone through plenty, of plenty of times. (Like I’ve said before, teams I’ve rooted for in my 20 years of being a sports fan have won one title, and that was the Colts in 2006, after I had been a fan for a mere two years.) But to watch my son breakdown in tears, knowing that his team was one mishap from winning, was extremely heartbreaking to watch.

Watching this game sure felt like we were watching history. No, not in the miraculous way the Seahawks came back (Can we stop with the Russell Wilson is holier than now QB and that’s why they won?! C’mon!), but in watching my son experience his first heartbreak. Sure there will be other sports heartbreaks, heartbreaks from dumb girls, and girls he may have loved, but this was his first, and you always remember your first – especially when your dad blogs about it.

A Letter to Seahawk Fans

As my ex co-worker used to say, “Welcome to my world!” Yes, welcome to my world Seahawk fans. You now get to face my nemesis, the New England Patriots.

I know you’re excited. You think your team is a team of destiny. I’m always one to say that you need a little luck to make a magical season happen, and if you’re really honest, you needed some luck (or stupid football decisions) to get past the Packers. But now you face the one team that doesn’t care about your magical run. The team that looks luck (and Luck, as in Andrew) in the eye and says, “Thanks for coming.” The one team that will take your momentum and use annoying slants, screens, checkdowns, and running backs from the scrap pile to slow your team down.

Sure Eli was able to beat them – twice – making two clutch throws. Sure your quarterback is known for being calm and collective as well. But this is different. These are the Patriots. The Evil Empire. The team everyone loves to hate. You will learn to hate them too.

Yes, you beat them – in Seattle – in October of 2012, by ONE! Yes, that was the world’s introduction to Richard “U Mad Bro?” Sherman.

I talked about heartbreak well, let me, from a decade of experience, introduce you to these Patriots, the team that has caused me a few heartbreaks, and why they are so evil, because they are so darn good.

The Hoodie
bill-belichick-wearing-hoodie-470-thumb-470x338-89542He’s a slob. He has the same facial expressions whether they win or lose. He wears a hooded sweatshirt, and sometimes with CUT OFF SLEEVES! You think Marshawn gives “exciting” press conferences? Bill Belichick invented the “exciting” press conference! You think your coach is the greatest? Well Belichick – pains me to say this – is the greatest. I used to hate when they called him a genius, and now I just shake my head in agreement.

Why you ask? Look at last year’s roster and then think about a coach that would’ve won 12 games with that squad. We know it’s hard to be consistently good in this league – except if you’re the New England Patriots. I won’t break it down, but click here and look at the 15 seasons since “The Genius” became coach in 2000. As another leader of another Empire might say, “Impressive, most impressive.”

The Pretty Boy
gisele-bundchen-2-600Tom Brady is making his record sixth Super Bowl. That isn’t easy to do, ask my man crush about that. Tom Brady is handsome. Tom Brady married a Brazilian super model, after knocking up a not-too-shabby actress named Bridget Moynahan. The dude has a moat around his house. He has three Super Bowl rings and is looking to win a record-tying fourth. I know we consider Joe Montana the apple of the Super Bowl quarterback world, but Brady is in his sixth Super Bowl and if, just if, he wins he’ll tie Montana for rings, and outnumber him in appearances. He’s cocky. He’s good. He’s not easily rattled. And if he loses he still goes home to the world’s most popular Victoria Secret model.

Gronk
Not only does he have a nickname that sounds like it comes straight from a Marvel comic book, but he has the body, and attitude, to accompany it.

If you don’t know what Gronk looks like close your eyes … I’ll wait … and picture what you pictured a football player looked like when you were in high school.

Yes. It’s a perfect sketch.

Rob Gronkowski is healthy. He’s also 6-foot-6 and 265-pounds of incredible athletic ability. Earlier this year he tossed a Colts defender “out of the club” because he was mouthing off to him. Yes, straight picked him up and tossed him away from the sideline. This after Gronk caught a pass from the 18-yard line, knocked over four defenders, before leaping into the end zone. Yes, you have big, strong, and athletic defenders, but Gronk is a machine. Have fun with that.

Revis Island
You all have been enamored by your L.O.B. that you might not know about Revis Island. Yes, Richard Sherman is a great cornerback, but if you’re not familiar with Darrelle Revis, you can make sure your Dougie Baldwin, or Jermaine Kearse will soon be making themselves familiar with him. Revis can make an argument as the best cornerback in the game. He may not pick off passes like Sherman, but that’s mostly because passes aren’t coming his way. If I need a cornerback to shut someone out, I’m taking Revis. Sorry bro!

Oh, and it doesn’t stop with Revis. Fans of the Seahawks might remember someone named Brandon Browner. Yes, he’s on the Patriots this year, looking for a repeat Super Bowl title himself. They also have the best linebacker that nobody is talking about in second-year pro Jamie Collins. And then there’s Vince Wilfork, the 6-foot-2, 325 pound defensive tackle who’s much faster than his weight tells us he should be.

Be careful Seahawk fans. Don’t get too overconfident. Not with the Patriots. Belichick has two weeks to figure out your defense and how to contain Russell Wilson. He has two weeks to figure out formations that nobody else has figured out. Formations that leave coaches thinking that maybe the Patriots are cheating. You won’t know what receivers are eligible, whether they will be running the ball, and who will be running the ball. You won’t know what little white receiver will lead them in catches. You won’t know if Brady will toss the ball down field, or use quick little screens to both eat up the clock and eat up the field.

Like your team does to others, they’ll chew you up with third-down conversions, unexpected trick plays, running backs that bulldoze linemen, clutch quarterbacks, shutdown cornerbacks, and the Gronk. They will hurt your head and leave you frustrated and confused.

The Seahawks do things to teams that … well, that the Patriots do, so I won’t be making any predictions or bets.

It should be an entertaining and competitive Super Bowl. These were clearly the two best teams in football, and as a football fan with no real rooting interest, it will be fun to watch.

I’ll just say, don’t get too overconfident, not with this team, not with Belichick, not with Brady, not with Revis and not with the Gronk.

NOTE: Yes I made no mention above about the Colts loss to the Patriots. I wasn’t expecting much, holding out for that “any given Sunday” line. I was happy they made it that far. Give them a decent defense (hello Robert Mathis) or a running back and we’ll be right where these teams are.

Around the family (AKA non-sports stuff going on in our lives) …
Before Lis and I forget about what Lia always prays about before bed, I want to remind us about “…and pray that I don’t have bad dreams, and dreams I don’t want to dream about.” Every night for the last year. She’s awesome. That’s all. … Lukas (and I) lost our 16th straight basketball game. This time a 12-8 defeat in our postseason opener. The kids played their best basketball, and once again Lukas played hard. He continues to be one of the hardest working players on the floor. If only I can get him to control his anxiety. … Erik and Stephanie drove over the mountains just to watch the game with Packer fan Lukas. That was nice of them. I’m going to rat my sister-in-law out and say that with six minutes remaining she was ready to pack the car. … I started my new job today, and though I had a few lines that got some laughs, my favorite, which didn’t generate any laughs, might have been my comparison to us newbies walking across the service floor, and having all the current employees eyeing us like Andy Dufresne entering Shawshank State Penitentiary. The dude next to me said, “As long as they don’t start yelling ‘fish’ I’ll be alright.”