It still surprises me and many people who know me, but I love watching football. I grew up watching the Pittsburgh Steelers win football games (and Super Bowls). As an adult I moved to Maine and quickly became a New England Patriot’s fan. (In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve won a lot of Super Bowls here, too!) There was a time when I was a pretty hardcore fan. I’d be sitting on a couch watching a game and the next thing I knew I’d be jumping on the couch hootin’ and hollerin’. I read the sports section thoroughly. I knew the stats. I knew the players. I could talk football with the best of them! One of my favorite Sunday activities was hanging out with my father-in-law watching a game.
When we got rid of television about 15 years ago, the one thing I missed was watching football. I followed the games on radio for a while but after a few years let my interest drift away. (That drifting roughly coincides with the onset of my teaching career. Imagine that!) These days I only watch the occasional game, but I can still talk football and enjoy doing so with some of my students.
Last week, with the excitement of the upcoming Super Bowl mounting, I adapted our standard Friday morning classroom greeting. Each of us greeted the class then stated if we planned to watch the big game and which team we thought would win. Score predictions were optional. In the end 22 out of 23 of us favored the Patriots to win and the child who announced that the Falcons would win noted in a stage whisper, “I’m trying to jinx them!”
My students were pretty impressed by the fact that my 50th birthday would fall on the big day. “Whoa,” one of them gasped, “It’s too bad you aren’t turning 51!”
“Yeah, wouldn’t that have been cool, Mrs. Hogan!”
At any rate on Sunday, nursing a vicious cold, I turned 50 and got to watch the Patriots stun the nation with their incredible Super Bowl victory. Wow!
On Monday I stayed home sick.
On Tuesday I went back to school. I walked into the classroom, tentatively, wondering what to expect after a day out sick and an unknown substitute teacher. I saw it right away, sitting on the corner of my messy desk.
One of my students had apparently bought me a football as a birthday gift. He then had all the students in the class sign it for me. My face lit up–what an awesome gift! I may be 50 now and I may never be up to orchestrating a reception like Julian Edelman, but my students think I’m still up to throwing a ball around. I’m not sure I’ve ever received a better gift! I went through the day grinning like a 40 year old!