Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear NFL

Professional football is my favorite sport. From August to February I live, eat and breathe football. For the past few months it looked like the 2011 NFL schedule of games might be cancelled as the players and owners were in a fight over who should get how much of the $9 billion the game makes every year in revenue. As you can imagine this left me in quite the emotional state until the stalemate ended this week. The aggrieved parties are friends again, awash in cash, and the season has been saved. It prompted me to write this letter:

Dear NFL,

So, you’re coming back to me after all. I was beginning to think our 40 year relationship was over. I know why you’re upset, but it didn’t have to come to this.

Yes, after the Super Bowl each year I have my affairs: college basketball and baseball. I’ve been with baseball nearly as long as you. College basketball is younger, but it’s not like that, don’t make it dirty.

I honestly thought you knew about my other sports, I’ve never tried to hide it. As much as you claim to need me, it’s you who leaves every February. One last blowout that’s supposed to just be for the two of us but you have to make it a party and invite millions of other people. By the end of the night I’ve hardly gotten to speak to you much less enjoy your company. Then I wake up the next morning and you’re gone. The house is eerily empty. No note, no apologies, no explanations, just a ticking clock amid the silence telling me it will be 6 months until you return.

Now you’ve found out about my dalliances and you’re angry. What did you expect from me? I’m only a sports fan. If you abandon me I’m going to turn elsewhere. I won’t just sit in front of the TV watching Law and Order reruns waiting for you to return. Besides, I’ve said all along that if you’d stay I wouldn’t need these other sports. You leave a gaping hole and think I won’t reach out to fill it?

Baseball and college basketball want to be with me. I know that shocks you, but it’s true. My fandom is attractive to other sports and they don’t take me for granted. If I stop watching their games, they notice and try to woo me back. You? You just keep counting your money while the cheerleaders dance for the drunks in the stands. I’m important to baseball, but to you I’m just another Sunday afternoon cheap trick that will sit and watch the Browns vs. the Redskins and think I’m being entertained.

So now you’re back and I’m excited just like you knew I would be. I guess our dysfunctional relationship will never change because I can’t let you go. Although I’m not going to just be available anytime you want to play a meaningless pre-season game in Buffalo. Baseball season is in full swing and my Phillies are in first place. I know a good thing when I have one.

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