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Sunday, October 2, 2011

College Football > Pro Football. Any. Day. Of. The. Week.

I love football. How could I not? I'm from Alabama. Where the Auburn-Alabama rivalry is palpable and football is another form of religion. In middle school and high school, football Fridays meant pep rallies and bands and lots of school spirit. People spent just a few dollars to stand in the bleachers and cheer on their children and their friends' children. Everyone has a stake. Be it familial or hometown or high school alma mater. In Alabama, there is nothing more exciting that watching Auburn or Alabama play. The RV's pull in days before and set up grills and flags and friendships. It means something. Almost everyone in the parking lot and the stands has a tangible tie. So when the band fires up and the pom poms shake, the excitement builds.

So as I sit here and watch the NFL, I'm disappointed. Sure, there are geographical ties, but the loyalty is to a name. Sit in a living room with people watching an NFL game and not one of them will have an actual tie to the team they're cheering for, other than the fact that they might have lived in the city the "team" plays for. Or they might be following someone from their college team. But the ties are tenuous. As are the alliances. Because you might love the QB, but chances are, he'll be somewhere else next year. The NFL players lack the loyalty and passion of the college players. It's become a business. It's no longer about the Friday Night Lights or the Saturday band playing your fight song. It's about fans who pay a ridiculous amount just to sit in the stadium, then pay an even more ridiculous amount for a bottle of water, a cup of beer, and a hot dog. This is business. It's not about the love of football, but about exploiting the experience of football.

I'm sure my NFL-loving friends will give me grief, but let's be honest. Watching the NFL isn't about you, the fan, who pumps money into your team and fuels the business that used to just be a game we loved.

Such is the business of trying to get published. You want to make it to the show and get published. You want more than anything to walk into a bookstore and see your work on a shelf. But once that becomes the goal, it no longer becomes about the writing. I've found myself losing my sense of passion over words and poetry as I focus on my goal of getting published. I don't want to lose sight of the Friday Night Lights and the band and the reason I started this journey in the first place.

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