A Love-Hate Relationship With America’s Favorite Sport

Whenever I watch football, I have this vivid image of a 16-year-old boy, lying at just about the 15-yard line, nonsensically asking his father where his cell phone is while paramedics strap his neck down to a stretcher.

That 16-year-old boy is me, former Bishop Ahr Trojan wideout, and I’d tell you more but the concussion made things kind of hazy.

Yet there I am, week in and week out, glued to the TV every Sunday watching the sport that almost turned my brain to mush. It happened to me. Receiver comes over the middle, ball gets lofted up lightly, BOOM, receiver is down and I’m once again teleported back to a night I don’t quite remember but one I’ll never forget.

While most people are welcomed to the big game by the Faith Hill (or is it Carrie Underwood now?) rendition of the “Sunday Night Football” song, the only thing ringing in my head is the 80’s punk tune from which the NFL swiped (with her permission) the melody, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Hate Myself For Loving You.”

Dammit, football, nothing could be more true.

Originally, Ms. Jett snarled “You took my heart, then you took my pride away.” O.K., a little dramatic, but nobody loved this game more than I did growing up. I did give it my heart and it may not have taken my pride but it certainly took a solid amount of brain cells.

I’m dead center in the biggest media market in the world during Super Bowl week, and I’m ecstatic. But God, do I despise myself for it. I am literally counting the days until I can watch two teams of grown men tear each other apart for a shiny ring and an off-season’s worth of bragging rights. I can’t stand the fact that I have no problem with that.

And when Richard Sherman takes Demaryius Thomas’ head off at just about the fifteen yard line, I’m going to sit there with the rest of America and I’m going to love it. But I feel you, Joan. I’m going to hate myself for loving it.

If you care to join me, Super Bowl XLVIII will be taking over the Big Apple and its cousin across the Hudson all week, and the big game airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m.