Goodbye, Sundays

Football – and particularly the Pittsburgh Steelers – is in my blood. I was born in Pittsburgh at the beginning of the Steelers’ Super Bowl dominance; my mother was pregnant with me when the team earned its first ring, and both she and my father were born and raised in the city. Even our cat, named Franco Harris, was a reflection of my family’s love for the team. Growing up, the Steelers were a religion, and worshipping them on Sunday was just as important – if not more so – than going to church.

Growing up in Buffalo, much to the chagrin of my family I became a Bills fan, embracing the Marv Levy and Jim Kelly era and riding the emotional highs and lows that come with four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Even long after leaving Buffalo and with the team’s winning seasons oh so far behind us, I still, painfully, manage to cheer for them every Sunday. While I say the Steelers are in my blood, I look at the Bills as my “hometown team”.

Ironically, I married a non-American, one for whom the word “football” means “soccer”. When we started dating, he watched in disbelief as I turned on every TV in the apartment so I wouldn’t miss any of the action in the event I had to go into another room (even for a second). Sunday mornings begin with the NFL Channel, then ESPN, then the ESPN / CBS / Fox channel flipping until kickoff. The NFL package on DirectTV is heaven-sent. Fantasy leagues? Never too many to participate in, study for, anguish over. What other sport, and the activities surrounding its season, give you as many highs and lows as the NFL??

As we work through Week 2 of the 2010 season, I acknowledge that any chance for a productive – or even relaxing – Sunday will have to wait until February. I wouldn’t know it any other way.

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