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Football is my religion. Every Sunday (and Saturday, I’m very observant), I attend mass at my place of worship, usually the Buffalo Wild Wings or Ale House, and enjoy libations while watching and listening to the tales of my holy text. Just last weekend, my congregation was regaled with the stories of Tom Brady throwing for 406 yards passing in his return against the Browns, FSU stealing a W from Miami by blocking an extra point, and the Chargers finding yet another way to lose a game they had a chance to win.
On my days without sermon, I spend my free time investigating the minutiae of my faith — memorizing statistics and analysis, doing my best to project the favorable matchups so that I may start the fantasy squad with the best chance of carrying me to the holy land of a league championship. Football is my rock, and my devotion to it is my way of surviving the trying times that have currently befallen all of us.
I’ll admit it: I use football as a coping mechanism. Not just to avoid dealing with my own personal issues, but to evade losing my sanity thinking about the state we are in as a nation. It’s much easier to try and forecast how many sacks Von Miller will have against the Texans than to understand how in the fuck the presidential election has become a race between a sociopathic moron and a corrupt sycophant.
That’s the beauty of getting lost in PFF grades and YPC averages; it doesn’t leave any room for dwelling on how we got to the point in society where something as superficial as skin color has come to seemingly define us as human beings or where people need “safe spaces” because they can’t take having their ideals criticized. The true magnificence of football is the ease with which the people watching get sucked into its universe. Whether it’s bitching about a team’s position in the AP, listening to Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson stumble through another call (holy fuck – retire already, you old bastards), or rooting against the Cowboys on principle, the traditions that surround the sport offer an opportunity to ignore the noise of the outside world.
For instance, last Sunday, while I tried to sit through the abomination that was the second presidential debate, I found myself flipping over to the Packers-Giants game as a way to keep my blood pressure down. I mean holy shit, Hillary justifying her statement about politicians needing private and public views on an issue by saying she was referring to a Spielberg movie? Trump voicing that he hadn’t discussed a critical foreign policy position with his running mate? Were they out of their fucking minds? I couldn’t take that shit for longer than five minutes, and once I checked all my cabinets and discovered I was out of Xanax, football was my only real option.
So, I didn’t spend my Sunday night wasting valuable brain power on trying to figure out which of the two evils was the lesser. I instead passed the time by screaming at Jordy Nelson to have over 70 yards receiving so I could win my fantasy game (the motherfucker didn’t). This is what football can do: erase the feeling of helplessness through distraction.
Football is not just a game; it’s a moment of peace from the rolling fucking calamity that is the modern era. A brief respite from the horrors we face on a daily basis. So, I’ll continue to use it like my personal drug, hitting it with gusto in order to forget how many things are messed up in this world. Because as long as the season rolls on, I get to ignore ISIS, the election, and the social unrest that plagues the people of this country. Football is a way for me to keep my head in the sand, a way for me to retain what shreds of stability and reason I have left. Football is the way I deal with the endless streams of shit in the universe, and I’m fucking proud of it..