We watched in horror and disbelief early this year as the Coronavirus spread across the globe, changing our world and our lives seemingly forever.
For many Americans, it didn’t hit home until the sporting events were cancelled – the NBA and college basketball were the first to fall. Then came baseball, golf, even motorsports – the virus was real and it was here.
One unimaginable day after another, I found myself saying, “Thank God it’s not football season.”
Surely, it would be over by then. We would be free by the Fourth of July, or so we were told.
Days and weeks turned into months. We continued to distance ourselves from the people and things we loved.
Then, there was the killing of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed. Chaos erupted in the streets and our cities burned.
But as sports slowly returned, so did something else – hope – that life as we knew it would also someday return.
The start of football season is like a national holiday that goes on for months. Sundays, Thursdays, Saturdays – there’s always something to look forward to.
This year, I’ve tempered my excitement. Who knows if the season will start – or if it does, what it will look like. Like so many other things, I knew football could be taken away from us at any moment.
With training camps closed and no preseason games, we haven’t had the usual buildup and to be honest, it feels a little surreal – but after months of uncertainty and unrest, week one of the NFL season is upon us. It finally feels real. It finally feels like football season. And I didn’t know how much I needed it until I saw ESPN’s It’s All Coming Back To Us Now video and the tears started flowing.
Seeing the game we love and players we adore (and even the ones we don’t) brought it all back to me.
I’m not going to say football will solve all our problems. But the truth is, we’ve never needed it more.
On game day, the things that divide us fade away.
Fans in the stands cheering and embracing each other regardless of race, religion, and politics is the America I know and love.
It may look a little different this year, but America’s game can still bring Americans together.
There may not be tailgate parties.
There may not be stadiums filled with people.
But by God, there will be football.
And this year, that’s enough.
“It’s so hard to believe but it’s all coming back to me now…”