Football. It is fantastic.

WHY?!? Dear Lord, why must we all love football? I will tell you.

Last Level Boss Val wants to know WHY?!? Dear Lord, why must we all love football? I have decided to stray from my first love (music) to my second one (sports!) and try to tell everyone, including LLBV, why they should, in fact, luv America’s new favorite pastime…football. I know you guys HATE lists, but I don’t care. And since they are so efficient and easily assembled, I will give you my top 10 reasons for loving football.

***This is not an article telling you why football is better than every other sport – because it isn’t. This is about the intricacies and quirks that make this particular game great.***

1. Culture.

Undoubtedly football has achieved a culture of its own. It has its own music (marching bands), its own cuisine (ribs, brats, beer, etc), its own fashion (always involving team colors and, depending on the city and state in which you live, the addition of a variety of accessories: cheese-heads, pig noses, dog masks, etc.), and a whole slew of homegrown traditions that can help to alleviate the burden of concentrating solely on x’s and o’s. Indeed, a wonderful upside to the intricacies of this culture is that those of us who are not inclined to actually enjoy the GAME of football, with all its savageness and fat guys, can be totally occupied with its side-stage – tailgating, marching bands, and team colors.

2. The balance of physical prowess and intellectual facility.

Not only is football a stage for young dudes’ incredible athleticism but also a stage for old dudes’ agile minds. Strength, speed, leaping ability, and arm strength are the first things that we see in front of us, but always remember that all of those things are tools that very smart and crafty men are manipulating to make their teams win games. Football, some would say more than other sports, relies on a foundation of x’s and o’s that has the most intelligent of us grappling amongst the blogosphere, the library, and the water cooler to learn more.

3. High School/College/Pro = Friday/Saturday/Sunday

Seriously, the way that a string of fortuitous events has shaped the schedule of the sport, top to bottom, is just truly wonderful. Friday night is high school football, cheerleaders, marching bands, cold bleachers, and blankets. Saturday morning is my nephew’s first game, flags – maybe helmets, hot chocolate, standing – or those fold up chairs, power dads, and lots of encouragement to the next generation. Saturday afternoon and night is tailgating, face paint, massive stadiums, irrational fan behavior, the joy of winning, agony of defeat, and emotional stability of your significant other. On Sunday, the football world showcases its best players, smartest minds, most expensive stadiums, legions of rabid fans, and our country’s greatest sports cities. A complete week of football is finished in a hectic and beautiful 48 hours.

4. Another Strange American Invention.

As is the case in a whole slew of American cultural contributions, football is a combination of a variety of cultures – it is an amalgamation of several other pastimes, games, and recreational activities. It is thoroughly American and doesn’t, thank goodness, have the polish, streamlined aesthetic presence or pure and clean bloodline that sports across the pond showcase.

5. Short seasons.

Baseball has 162 games, Basketball 82, and Hockey 82. Football on the other hand has anywhere between 10 and at the very most 19. With so few games stretching over a standard season length, each game packs a punch not seen until the post-season of most sports. Whether it’s high school, college, or NFL, don’t miss a game because it can cost you the season.

6. It takes all kinds/weights/mental makeups.

If your kid’s fat he can play football. If your kid’s a nerd he can coach football or maybe even play quarterback. If your kid’s short he can play football. If he’s tall he can play football. To complete an entire production of one football game, a team needs the input of every shape and size of individual you can imagine. The smörgåsbord of mental and physical makeups is not only refreshing but integral to the sport.

7. We are living in its fruition.

10, 15, 20 years ago football did not hold the gaze of America the way it does today. Baseball’s golden age happened ages ago, and basketball reached its zenith in the 80’s with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson leading the way. Football, on the other hand, has just recently become the apple of our eye. In a related point…

8. We haven’t figured out how to play it!

Whether it’s Arkansas’s wildcat formation, Pete Carroll’s liberal use of 4th down, or Michael Vick showing us new possibilities at quarterback, coaches and players everywhere are still figuring the vast possibilities that the innumerable combinations of x’s, o’s, strategies, formations, and personnel might offer.

9. You, presumably live in Virginia…

…which means that you are living in one of the top states for high school football in the country. We are a recruiting hotbed and consistently produce first rate NFL talent. Sitting in front of a TV for four hours isn’t your thing and you don’t wont to trek to some college town where you’ll wait hours for parking and have to navigate inebriated fans left and right? Take a walk to your local high school and watch some of the best talent in the country toss the rock.

10. It can and should facilitate and hone relationships.

Sports is undoubtedly, at its core, a celebration of humanity. That is most certainly its ultimate purpose and the reason why sport has continued to exist for centuries. Football, as well as all other sports, is a conduit where relationships develop and lifetime memories are made. If you can’t find anything else worthwhile amongst the beer cans and Doritos, maybe you can find a new friend.

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Matthew E. White

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