I grew up watching NHL hockey like every little Canadian boy. I learnt to skate at a young age seeing as we literally lived across the street from the hockey arena. When I was 8 or 9 I started playing hockey and essentially grew up like a typical Canadian boy.
As I approached my teen years I discovered watching football was equally as fun - Canadian football that is. My father introduced this to me around the same time I met a new kid who would end up becoming my best friend for many years. He was into football far more than hockey. But hockey remained my favourite sport.
Then through my 20s hockey started rubbing me the wrong way. It either became so political during that time or maybe it always had been and I just started to realize it then. The big lockout of 2004-2005 is where the NHL permanently lost a fan.
For a few years I didn’t watch sports at all. I even lived in Calgary, AB during those years and worked on the “Red Mile” but didn’t get back into the cult following.
Then in 2007 I very casually started watching NFL football - mainly Monday’s as we did a Monday Night Football feature at the restaurant where I was at. I loved it. It was so much more exciting than Canadian football, and it just captivated me. That year the New England Patriots made it through the season and all the way to the Super Bowl undefeated. Not knowing too much about the league or the dynamics, I had this gut feeling they were going to lose their final game. They were favored to win by 12 points as they were playing the New York Giants. I made the best bet of my life when I put my money on the Giants and was seemingly the only person cheering for an upset.
The game is regarded as one of the greatest games and one of the biggest upsets in the history of professional sports. The game is best remembered for the Giants' fourth-quarter game-winning drive where David Tyree made the "Helmet Catch" on 3rd down which led to the game winning touchdown with just 35 seconds remaining on the clock.
I was hooked. I’ve been a loyal NFL and Dallas Cowboys fan ever since. It’s on my bucket list to attend a game some day. I’ve watched as many games as I could on Sunday’s and introduces Liam to it from the time he was just an infant, but with each passing year, it’s been tougher to watch many games. Last year in fact, I didn’t get to watch a single game, because every time I turned it on the TV, one of the kids (if not all) freaked out, had a meltdown, started screaming… you name it.
This year Liam got a new tablet for his birthday at the end of September. He was chatting with our BIs Karen and Elyse the one day and they were asking him what apps he had on his tablet. Somehow football came up, and Elyse suggested he download the NFL app onto his tablet. Well, that was it! From that moment on, he has become obsessed with and addicted to NFL football. I have watched more games this season, than all seasons combined dating back to 2007!!!
Liam has memorized team stats, scores, standings, players numbers... you name it! He has amazed me with his memory and comprehension and understanding of what's going on, so quickly.
Then came the day back in October where he asked if he could play football. Up until this point, Liam had never expressed interest in anything really. He had been searching for six years but had never really landed on anything. Whereas his younger brother Ethan, had already made it clear that gymnastics was his thing when he was only two and a half years old.
So, I did some research and found that those who turn seven years old before December 31st, can register for Pee Wee football. He qualified. I called a few sports equipment and supply places around town and found one that sold Pee Wee footballs. I took him for a drive that may potentially change the course of his life. He was so proud to own a football.
Since then, not a day has gone by where we haven't played football in the yard, talked about football, watched football... or now the latest has been to play Madden Football on our tablets. He asks me every day, when registration opens for the season. Every time we drive by the Apple Bowl, he presses his nose up against the window and stares out. I can only imagine what he's thinking as my eyes well up hoping for great success to find him.
Although I'm not ready for this chapter of parenthood yet, one vow I've made is to NEVER stand in the way of my kids dreams. So with that being said, I have made it a goal on my #2021Twenty to register Liam for Pee Wee football this year and to see what comes of it. He doesn't have to succeed, he doesn't even have to be good. All I want is for him to have fun and to confidently say he did it - regardless of outcome.
But come on... I can't sit here and say I haven't also imagined what it would be like to attend Draft Day and hear his name called in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys!