I was floating down a river in Montana when I realized I loved football more than just about anything else in the world.
It was one of the first stops on the road trip. I was working on a flower farm in Montana for a few days, and after a very long day at farmers markets the day prior and a very long day weeding the day prior to day, my host thought it would be nice to go on a trip down the Flathead River to relax.
The Flathead is gorgeous. I’ve never seen water so clear or so radiant. The mountains in the background were breathtaking (see above), and every now and then an animal that I had never seen before in real life (bald eagle! heron! mule deer! wild…cows?!) would pop out from the bushes. It was an unforgettable experience on multiple fronts.
But the one thing that sticks in my memory most from that day was the one thing I couldn’t get off of my mind all day:
I was missing the first Sunday of the football season.
And as crazy as it sounds, not even the beauty of the Flathead could compare to the overwhelming joy I feel at the start of every new season.
I tried really hard to be reasonable that day in Montana. I tried to guilt myself into believing that I was selfish, and football was an “idol” in my life. I even made up a slogan to go along with that campaign:
I spent most of Sunday repeating the mantra, “If there’s anything I’m not willing to let go of, I’m holding onto it too tightly,” in the hopes of talking myself out of being deeply disturbed at missing the first Sunday of regular season football. It worked on some levels – the logical, practical ones, for instance. The ones that know that there is life outside of the NFL.
But all of the other levels…well, they went down kicking and screaming.
Don’t we do that sometimes? Try to tell ourselves that what we love isn’t worthy of being loved because it isn’t holy enough? Personally, I think that’s a law we’ve imposed on ourselves. I think God gave us this big, beautiful world full of good things. And while we are never to love anything more than we love Him, I think He wired us with specific passions for specific things – in my case, football. And trying to un-love the things that I inherently love is not holy; it’s stupid.
I love football. I love it in a way that I can’t explain. Of course I love watching it, but I also love learning about it and talking about it and I really, really love writing about it over at Football for Normal Girls.
This is the first weekend of the 2013 NFL Season, and, if possible, I’m more excited than ever. Last year at the start of the season I was testing the waters with a little blog on a subpage of my website that didn’t even have a name. This year, not only does that little blog have a name, it has a life of it’s own (and a gorgeous new design thanks to the talents of my amazing friend Carolyn Levine, who is definitively THE BEST).
Football for Normal Girls makes me believe that passions matter. They aren’t arbitrary and they shouldn’t be ignored. We are passionate for a purpose, and that purpose is begging to be pursued! This whole year, full of gravel and bruises and missteps from the face plant of faith, has taught me that lesson in full color. Passions matter. And embracing the things that we love? It’s so much more fulfilling than pretending that they don’t matter.
I’d love for you to check out Football for Normal Girls if you have a chance this weekend. I can Joe Namath guarantee that something you find there will make the first weekend of the NFL season better for you. But I’d love it even more if you’d leave a comment below about YOUR crazy passion, whatever it is, and what you are doing to pursue it.