I grew up with parents who were Seahawk season ticket holders. They were big fans. I remember my mom yelling at Jim Zorn on the tv while she was ironing for the week ahead. My sister and I usually got to go to the "big" games and each summer we went over to Cheney for training camp. It was fun. My parents weren't crazy fans, but big enough to support the home team.
Before I met Brett we had a conversation via IM about sports and it went something like this:
Brett: So, do you like sports?
Julie: Take 'em or leave 'em. I'm not really that into it.
Brett: Yeah, me either.
BAH! Little did I know the man bleeds purple!!! This is a man who's football team comes before anything else in life. We would go up to San Juan island for the weekend and have to be on the 5am ferry back home so he could catch the pre-game at the Pub. Yeah, that was fun! :( Oh, and no, I was not included in football Sunday. That was his time with his buddies at the pub, a big, long day of drinkin' and football. For me, it was kind of like having this big HUGE red flag waved in my face and saying..."hey, get that thing out of my way, I'm tired of being alone!"
The first football season we both had our own places, so when tragedy occurred (as it typically did week after week...hey, the Vikes were bad) I had the safety of my own apartment. I think I knew all along that his passion for football was a little too extreme for my liking and at some point would be one of the deal breakers.
We got married on a bye week. We honeymooned in Negril and the following week we were able to watch the game at Margaritaville. We got there 2 hours early (maybe even more, I don't remember) to make sure they would play the Vikings game - first come, first served. We drank a LOT of Bloody Marys that day.
The 2002 football season was not a good one at our house. It was a bad year for the Vikes and each loss was like a huge tragedy. On top of that, Brett wasn't adjusting real well to having a wife and a stepdaughter. He was drinking a lot and each Sunday the Vikings would lose all hell would break loose in our house. Many times Natalie and I would go to friends' houses to escape and let him deal with his "pain" alone. I still, today, do not understand how a person can become so empassioned by something that is so completely unimportant that they would jeapordize the relationships with the ones they love.
Over the years it got a little better, but it was never "good". The last few years Brett was in 3 fantasy football leagues, running two of them. A Sunday at our house was like this: kitchen tv played one game, 50" plasma played another game, KFAN was playing on the laptop and the DirectTV feed was also on the laptop. "Kids, quiet down!! Daddy's trying to listen to the game." Yeah, didn't really create that nice, family environment for the children. I usually tried to have them at the gym for most of the game.
Sadly, many Sunday nights I would receive texts from friends. Something like: "I saw the Vikings lost. Are you okay?" It angers me that people would have to worry about me over something like a lost football game, but that's really how it was. How a man could have a beautiful family....3 beautiful, smart, amazing kids and care so much about a stupid football team...I will never understand.
Last January the Vikings made it to the playoffs. They lost the very first game. All hell broke loose and this time the unleashing was on my oldest daughter. I won't give details because that's not important. What is important is that this was a defining moment for me. It was the moment I knew THIS IS NOT OKAY and it's time to figure out a way to get out. In addition to it just not being okay to treat my child this way, I could never risk that her father would finally say "ENOUGH" and take her from me.
I have a feeling that this moment is one that Brett will never forget either. He knows that it was a defining moment for me. It's one thing to "take it" yourself, but it's quite another when it's your child.
And now...another football season is upon us and honestly, I wouldn't even know it was football season if it weren't for the casual conversations I've heard around me from friends. I love that we are not bound to the house, the tvs and the computer on Sundays anymore. While football is a great thing, there IS more to life than pig skin.