I’m not the only one in love with football. Admit it. You love it too. (If not, you would hardly be reading this post.)
But Romantic? you ask. How quickly you forget your high school football-cheerleader cliches and from whence they came. Let me explain further.
Football players are heroes fighting for a cause. They’re larger than life and struggling toward a goal. They dress up in battle gear more than any other sport, making them look big and enhancing the male physique with massive shoulders, slim hips and big helmets. They become mythical in proportion. Their equipment and uniforms more than any other sport, make them look good–better and larger than the real life versions of themselves. (unlike the dumpy baseball, basketball and even hockey uniforms).
Certainly the geared up football player bears no resemblance to the typical male. But most men want to step in their shoes and wear that uniform and fight that struggle to exercise their base strengths and grit and win for the cause. Even if they are men in ordinary jobs.
Football is a game of great physical struggle. All the basic human strengths are required to win: physical strength, speed and grit. These things appeal to us viscerally and we respond instinctively. The game’s progress is incremental and so measured that it allows us to feel involved in the progress, to feel every foot and yard of ground gained, giving it drama. The physical grittiness of the game speaks to our base neanderthal selves, deep down where we have no control. Other sports, like soccer or hockey, are more chaotic with players flying all around too and froe in a tough to follow hodge-podge and sudden blasts into the goal. There is no struggle to follow. In football, we follow hard fought yards and goal line stands. The drama builds like the crescendo of a good save-the-world story.
It’s a standard romantic trope to wait back at the ranch–on the sidelines–to worry and watch the hero struggle to win, to save the day. It’s not the most modern or currently popular romantic trope, but it’s as old as human nature and speaks to something basic and deep in our souls. We experience the gains, the scores, the hits as we watch and wait. When player/heroes are hit, we feel their pain–without having to feel their pain. When they reach the end zone–the goal, we feel their thrill. The triumphant thrill calls to our feminine souls, and we want these heroes for our own.
Thus the popularity of football. Thus the romance of football.
What do you think of the drama and romance of football?