Catharsis. One of my very favorite words. Football is something that gives me great catharsis. Right up there with being tattooed, & riding my motorcycle. I love to watch football with my family, or even entirely by myself at home. Because of the great catharsis it gives me to get emotionally invested in my team and the game — and give in to those emotions entirely during it.
This is something I wish I understood more when playing ice hockey. I’d like to have been more emotionally invested in the game, anything, in those times. Though I guess when you don’t understand emotions at all it’s hard to understand your own — as well as when and how to harness them.
I really wasn’t the biggest football fan until turning nineteen, going crazy, meeting Megan, & starting mandatory therapy. Now, I was a Broncos fan — since the start of the 1997 and Super Bowl XXXII winning season. Which was when I was getting Sports Illustrated Kids in Andover. Many articles about Terrell Davis & John Elway, my then idols, were consumed. I was also eight years old and had spent a fair chunk of my life outside of the US playing soccer as a goalie on concrete during lunch. My first real exposure to football that I can actively remember was after moving to Andover, and watching Super Bowl thirty-two on the fancy big screen.
I went to a number of Broncos games and CU Buffs games growing up. Relatives will tell you I’ve also been to a handful of Patriots practices at Gillette field, don’t believe them. Not a word, I won’t admit to it any longer.
Football just didn’t click with me, though. Elway’s retirement and Davis’ subsequent injury-forced one are the first real heartbreaks I can remember. Aside from losing my great-grandmother, Nana. So I kind of forsake the sport for a good amount of time.
It just awoke in me one day, though. I can’t even remember what caused it.
My brother has given me a hard time and tried to postulate that it was because of the Tim Tebow season. However I have fine evidence of me watching the Broncos have a grand ol’ time fielding Kyle Orton — and watching that garbage fire of a season before 2011 when he was thankfully replaced part way through. I remember really disliking Josh McDaniels as well.
Of the ones I have seen, that 2011 season is the most hilariously successful season the Broncos have had. Watching that glorified halfback attempt to hit the broad side of a barn for three quarters, then have the defense & Von Miller’s Defensive Rookie of the Year season — keep it close to save his butt. The guy continued on to pull out some halfback/quarterback nonsense, to win the game.
It must have been so infuriating for the opposing fans. Then there’s that wildcard playoff game against the Steelers. Where the Broncos won the first overtime game with the updated rules in league history — on the first play. On a Tim Tebow pass of about 15 yards to Demaryius Thomas who took it to the house.
What I really want to talk about though is the stadium experience, that’s my favorite.
There’s absolutely nothing like it for me. I have been to a lot of places and experienced many different things, going to a live NFL football game is one of my very favorites. I’ve certainly found it to be one of the greatest natural highs there is for me. Even starting with waking up on game day. Megan and I, or anyone that I go with, typically make a whole day of it. It’s a vacation, for that day, to Mile High and the surrounding area.
Orange, a sea of orange as far as the eye can see is something that just gives me such warmth and comraderie. I feel like I am a part of something that is just in general positive and fun. I’ve met and shared so many laughs with strangers whose faces I will never forget and names I will never remember.
Usually we sit in the five-hundreds which are the highest section up. I prefer to sit in the center field and those are the most affordable tickets for us at this time. I also like to be able to see the whole game. As long as I can read the numbers I am good, and there’s not a bad seat at Mile High for seeing digits effectively. It’s live all-22 film, I will never get enough of it.
That’s what’s so frustrating about watching the sport on TV sometimes. They spend so much time focusing on the football and the quarterback that you honestly don’t see all that much. There’s been so many times now I have been at a game and I see a big bomb in our favor or theirs before it even happens. I love groaning or gasping before the ball is even thrown — it’s exhilarating.
Speaking of exhilarating, let’s talk about the crowd.
That’s where most of the catharsis comes from. Starting with the walk up the ramps to the five-hundreds where I can see the crowd below and there’s just such anticipation that can be felt in the air. The excitement is palpable and invigorating! It just makes me feel satisfied with life. That I am at a place with all kinds of human beings just trying to get through this chaotic journey of ours. This is something we all share — regardless of religion, political beliefs, or any other such thing that causes people to not like each other for whatever reason; we share this. We are all football fans and share a love of something together.
Of course there are always jerks that either drink too much or take rivalry too seriously. However, for the most part the grand majority of the crowd I have found to be good respectable people looking to have a good time. I’ve had great heckling sessions with all kinds of opposing fans where we end the game no matter the score with, “good game” and shake hands.
When kickoff — kicks off, that is when I get to release any frustration, anger, depression, or any other in a breadth of emotions that just need release.
One of my favorite things about Mile High is not only how loud people are with their vocal cords. It’s the stomping. You can literally feel it throughout the stadium. From what I understand it isn’t anywhere near what the experience was in the original Mile High — but it’s good enough for me.
I get to roar at the top of my lungs. It’s absolutely liberating in the best of ways. My parents always taught me not to boo excepting very particular circumstances, and not to curse because there’s always going to be kids. So I end up yelling things like “Get him! Saaaaaaaack! Pansy! Laaaaamo!” or I just yell with all my might. Sometimes I will go so hard I almost pull a muscle in my core. I have before, it’s not fun — but it is at the same time. I do slip up and say nasty things sometimes, I try not to though.
Even when we lose, I feel better about life after a football game; that’s true catharsis.
I think these are things we need to find, escape — release. I’m learning as I get older that true experiences are meaning more to me too. I absolutely love video games and comic books, but there’s really not anything like actually going out and experiencing the world. Doing something with my body and with other people. It’s making me feel more connected and less of a meaningless speck.
At the end of the day because I am quite a bit of a nihilist (sans the rejecting moral principles portion) — I still think I am a meaningless speck, on a meaningless rock, in an ocean of so many meaningless rocks and stars that if you tried to visualize the number it would wrap around the Earth many times over.
But, in a way, isn’t that what makes life and this existence beautiful?
That if all I have, is this and these experiences? That I do what I can now because there is nothing, and no one after? It makes me feel pretty optimistic, really. The fact that I am happy and enjoying my life. This website in a morbid kind of way is meant to be my mark. Regardless of if people like this or want to read it, find meaning or not — I am finding meaning in it.
Just like football. What football means to me is that it is absolutely a part of me. It gives me great catharsis and happiness. It allows me to push on and appreciate what I have when I wonder, truly, if anything myself and we as a species does matters. Because honestly, from what I know about space, stars, time, & the universe — it would go on without a sneeze if we disappeared tomorrow.
That makes football, and life, so spectacular to think about for me. I’m really happy I get to experience these things, with people I love. That is what the meaning of life is to me.
Thank you for reading.