I like American football. I have fond memories from childhood, when the rest of childhood was more complicated and slippery.
People are often surprised to hear that I like American football. I suppose because I don’t announce this, I don’t seem like the type (???) and because after college, I’ve never dated a guy who liked football. In fact, my friends, recent boyfriends, etc. often look down upon the sport as some sort of game for the idiotic masses. And as an American abroad you quickly learn how it is not an international sport, no one watches the sport but – Americans.
It’s not that these folks are right or bad or even justified in their opinions. It’s just they don’t have the same connection with football like I do.
I know Asian American women are not supposed to like American football unless they are cheerleaders or have a “financial interest” in the team. But when I was a child it was the only thing that really pulled all of us together in front of that damnable TV in our brown-on-beige living room.
Okay, maybe the Miss Universe pageant did too (Mom and I had a vested interest in Miss Thailand), and that’s why I still watch it to this day, but I also love watching ANTM and flipping through girly magazines, but we’re talking about football. Grrr. Now in case you are wondering how we got the men to watch Miss Universe, at least for a while, may I remind you of the swimsuit competition…We were also pretty snarky with our commentary. It was all in good fun though.
I don’t know if we were a “normal family,” but I do know we were not often together. My mom worked, my stepfather worked and my brother and I are 3.5 years apart, which meant we were close in grade school, and then as we got older we started to drift apart and have different interests.
I spent a lot of time in my room alone reading and sulking and doing what teenagers do, but occasionally would wander out to see what my brother was watching on TV. Football, for some reason, almost always held my interest. If it didn’t, it was because he was watching college football and I like the NFL (the National Football League) better.
When my step dad was around I would ask him questions about the game because I wanted to know what the teams were doing, what a first down was and where was the bloody line of scrimmage? And believe it or not, my Thai mother even had a fascination with football. When I was a baby, she left my father to babysit me so she could go to a game or two.
Because I spent my youth in Hawaii, with a brief interlude in California, I had to choose a team to like. That is to say, I didn’t have an automatic home team. Hawaii does not have an NFL team, and for some reason, I did not like any California football team. Generally I chose teams based upon color and uniform.
I’m not sure what came first, my choice or this road trip, but let’s assume after we did a road trip from Barstow California to Des Moines Iowa, and I fell in love with Colorado, that the Denver Broncos became MY team. I was 13, possibly 14 years old.
So yeah, I know American football gets a lot of crap. It’s known as the “wife beating time” and for screaming fans getting drunk and stupid in front of the TV. But can it also be known for happy memories with my family and friends? And the interest of one American Asian girl who simply thought football is a great game to watch?
By the way, I also like tennis.