hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


November 29, 2012

Confessions of a football addict


Just when I thought I’ve had enough, along comes more. My 6-year-old grandson informed me he’s now playing flag football and wondered if I could attend his games an hour away.

“Sure,” I told him. “So long as it doesn’t interfere with the Patriots, Jets, Giants, Bills, and the rest of the NFL.”

“Don’t worry, Papa,” he said. “Our games are played on Sunday mornings, usually at 9.”

There goes church, too. The only secure moment when I felt a hiatus from football was no longer absolute. For me or his family. They used to be a spiritual lot and now their praying is done in the stands on a brisk fall day, covered with afghans and layers of clothing.

What time is it today? Game time!

People who know me won’t tap my phone or come cold calling. They’ve seen me surge out the church door after Mass so I could make the 1 p.m. kickoff. Should it be the late-afternoon game, a trip to the supermarket usually precedes the kickoff.

How did I become such a maniac? I don’t know, except that it may have been contagious. I once attended a wedding in which the bride and groom were exchanging vows during a civil ceremony.

Written into their marital contract by the husband was a football clause calling for asylum during a Patriots game. Instead of a tux, the guy was wearing a Tom Brady shirt and a nifty set of matching sweat pants as if the next order of business was a clash outdoors.

The bride was just as hip, wearing a Patriots cheerleading outfit and lending her own persona to the ritual. There are people like this in the world to whom football is the game of life and the only thing that might interfere is a tsunami.

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