With just hours until start of the NFL Playoffs, it seems time to reflect a bit. Why is this time of the season so different? Sure, there’s a championship of the line, as well as a whole lot of football left to be played. Great football, no doubt. But there is just something…
You Always Remember the First
If it’s your first time seeing it, it may take a second. For me it was 1979 and a worst to first story you can’t write. For some Buccaneers fans, it may have been just last season. There are many who haven’t even experienced it yet. Which only makes the first time that much more incredible.
You’ve seen the flags flying. Maybe even went to a party. But all of a sudden it hits you all at once. Starting with this weekends slate of games. These are the best teams in the league. Each with their own story. Overcame injuries, played in a soft division. Led the league….something. When you really understand how hard fought victory is in the NFL’s “second season”. That’s when you’ve broken the code like Neo and are starting to see the construct. And it builds from there.
It Takes a Village
While your watching playoff football this weekend, Take a moment. Look around and take in the people you are watching the game with. Their idiosyncratic superstitions. The celebrations when there is success. The pause when there’s not. Believe it or not, this is actually where the good stuff lives.
Seasons will come and seasons will go, but the friends and family will always be there. It is how we react to the good stuff, that will fill our hearts with warmth, and love of the game. And should the seasons not always turn out exactly as hoped… we will have each other to console. Provide or request a shoulder to lean on. Plus you will want someone to start talking about the draft with in about six weeks. Regardless.
If find myself wandering back to the ten year old me in 1979 when the Buccaneers celebrated their first postseason success. Just to make sure I remember the family and friends. The celebrations and not. And fortunately, I remember them vividly. Because it was my first time. And I’m grateful for that.
So keep your eyes open. Take every bit of it in. And even if it isn’t your first time. The thing that binds us all to the defending Super Bowl champions Buccaneers team is that we are all family. All rooting for the same cause. All experiencing the same range of emotions. It’s the NFL’s playoffs, and those are the ties that bind.