I take football too seriously.
My emotions get involved when it comes to my favorite teams. I find myself occasionally screaming at the television set, and others times rejoicing in front of it.
I become so entwined within the game, it can consume me, and I know I’m not alone.
As a society, we love football almost to a fault. It dictates various aspects of our lives as we schedule social gatherings around games and clear Sunday afternoons for sitting at home on the couch.
We can take the sport with us via laptops and smartphones, and websites allow us to delve into every statistical nuance, while fantasy football gives people an opportunity to become a genuine general manager minus the multimillion-dollar salary.
Every year, I pour myself into the sport of football from high school to college to NFL. I devote myself to the game both professionally and recreationally. I love the competition, athleticism, power, grace, technique and teamwork involved.
In reality, however, that is not what the sport is all about.
Last week, Copperas Cove pounded visiting Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leo 43-17. The former Mexican national champion Tigres have made repeated trips to Central Texas over the last few years to play against American teams.
Despite posting some of the best talent in the country, typically, the Monterrey-based program gets beaten decisively when it travels across the border. In three games this season, the Tigres are winless, getting outscored 105-44.
But nobody enjoys losing more than these kids, and that is in no way meant to be insulting.
Regardless of the outcome, the UANL players relish the opportunity to drive more than 400 miles to compete against more polished talent.
Last season, in a 38-24 loss to Shoemaker, numerous Tigres left Leo Buckley Stadium in awe after watching former Grey Wolves standout and current Baylor Bear Johnny Jefferson rush for 303 yards. After the game, they rushed to pat Jefferson on the back, congratulate him, shake his hand and even ask for his autograph.
That, not wins and losses, is what football is all about.
After Copperas Cove easily handled the Tigres last week, several players returned to field once most fans had left and proceeded to playfully pose at midfield as they took turns taking pictures of each other laying in front of the Bulldawgs’ logo.
That type of joy, not statistics, is what football is all about.
For the past three seasons, Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch has invited the Tigres to come and spend a week with his program. Welch and his staff teach UANL coaches philosophies of the game, run players through practice drills and workouts and helping them acclimate to the American brand of football.
That, not winning championships, is what football is all about.
Football is a powerful medium that crosses gender, age, color and social status and brings people together under the veil of competition. At Copperas Cove, the sport brings together two groups of people who share a common passion despite living in opposite worlds and both prosper in the interactions.
The visiting Tigres get to live out the thrill of a lifetime while growing as athletes, and the Bulldawgs get to experience the joy of spreading the sport’s seeds to those hungriest for it.
It is a win-win situation for all involved, but it is also an eye-opener for anyone who finds they are taking football too seriously at times.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org