Thursday, April 13, 2017

The happiness of a Patriots fan.

I've been a Patriots fan for as long as I can remember. Growing up my brothers, all 5 of them and my dad, loved the Redskins. It seemed like the Redskins were the Magloire family football team but I never seemed to develop a liking for them. Instead, I gravitated towards the team with a coach that never smiled and a sixth round quarterback draft pick from California.

Before I even knew what it meant to be a fan of anything I was a fan of the Patriots. I didn't really know what I was doing as far as being a football fan was concerned. Eventually, I figured that I just needed to model the behavior that my brothers displayed.

So I would look up stats and players names and I would watch games and make noise when we scored a touchdown and make noise when we got scored on. I figured if I was constantly making noise during a game I was doing something right.

Now that I live in Denver, I often get slack from people about the team I like. The most common things I hear are "But wait, you're not even from New England," or my personal favorite "Oh great, another bandwagon fan."

I love football and I love being a Patriots fan but during the Super Bowl I had a moment that forced me to take a look at myself and be reminded that it's just a game.

Picture this, there I was on Super Bowl Sunday, eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and I was sobbing. I was sitting there crying so hard, not at all embarrassed because I thought the Patriots were going to lose. My friends all laughed at me and called me ridiculous and I just sat there crushed. Feeling like the game was so important, like the Patriots really needed to win or my life would be affected in some major way.

For every game that is lost in football there's a coach, a team, investors and a few others that are greatly affected. It changes the trajectory of their season, whether they go into the playoffs or not and for some players it affects whether they're able to even stay in the league. When the Patriots lose, nothing in my life changes. I wake up the next day, the same as I did the day before and I continue going on with my life.

The truth is, for the majority of us Football fans, besides our emotional state being altered for a few hours, our lives don't change at all by the results of these games. Yet there we are, crying,  in a room filled with people we love because we think that a game might not end the way we want it too.

Super Bowl Sunday was kind of a reality check for me. It was like I had an out-of-body experience by seeing my behavior through my friends eyes. Is football really that important to me?The answer, is that it's not.

What's really important to me, one of the things that I want people to see me engaging in passionate conversations over and fighting for, is education.

So many of the students that I work with want to play in the NFL or the NBA. They want to be famous singers and rappers, they want to drive Ferrari's and live in mansions in LA and a lot of that is far fetched for 99.9% of them. What shouldn't be a far fetched dream though, is for them to be able to go to a high school in their neighborhood that offers them a rich education geared towards their learning styles.

I want to yell and raise a ruckus about things like that. About all of the thousands of  under served and disadvantaged youth in this country and my city, that don't have access to the opportunities they deserve. For kids from low income families that aren't able to get an education that gives them a chance to have a better life. One that is better than the one their parents had and equips them with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.

Football is often as simple as win or lose and maybe that's what I love about it. There are four quarters, a slight chance of overtime but regardless it always ends with someone winning and someone losing. Education, on the other hand, may not be as simple but it's undoubtedly more important.

I firmly believe that I was made to help youth. Made to support them in their struggles and provide them with the resources that are often just out of their grasp. Football brings me happiness but education and being a bridge for students in that way, that's what brings me real joy.

I'll probably still watch football next season. I may buy a jersey and even try to get tickets for the Patriots vs Broncos game. What I won't do, is forget how small it all is. In the grand scheme of things and the big picture of my life the Patriots are just a team and football is and will always be, just a game.

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