Football Matters Because Gathering Matters

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My husband and I began our life together in a tiny apartment close to downtown Chattanooga. So tiny, that most of our wedding presents stayed unopened until we were able to purchase a house about a year later. Yet, despite our tiny space, we had a yearning to gather with people in our home. Our first “dinner party” included my new in-laws and I still remember we had to stay seated once we got into our seats because there was no room to push chairs back without moving the table! Gathering with others has always been what we enjoy doing, and yet sometimes, it can prove tricky and can even downright fail. 

This post is brought to you by Football Matters, but all opinions and experiences are my own.

We have thrown many parties and get-togethers that have lacked a purpose or had an odd assortment of guests who cannot seem to jive. These days, the issue is what to do with all the kids that come along with our friends, plus the four boys we already have!

But what never fails to gather new friends, old friends, loud kids and shy guests is…football.

Football Matters Because Gathering Matters

If you get an invitation to watch a football game at someone’s house, you get invited to so much more. Noisy kids? Doesn’t matter; plenty of noise going on in the men’s corner when some kind of something or other happens. Quiet guests? One can always stare at the TV and jump into the commentary as they please. Not sure how long you should stay or when to come? That’s the best part; football gatherings are casual and open ended; stay the afternoon or stay the quarter, and no one worries if you committed an etiquette faux pas. 

No, hold it. The best part is the food. What other time can you get away with endless snacking and no one is judging?

In fact, it’s almost rude to stop eating! People get excited about pumpkin and apple flavors in the fall, but what I am really excited about is the queso, stadium shaped charcuterie spreads and whatever sort of cream cheese ball concoction that is trending on Pinterest (basically, I am here for the cheese!).

Why does football, more than most sports, create this inviting backdrop for bringing people together? It is hard to find the exact reason. Maybe because we remember a time in our youth where football games were where we gathered on Friday evenings. We gathered because we had a role in the evening, or it was a safe place to be young, or because it was finally crisp enough outside for a sweatshirt and the lights held back the night so we could enjoy the day that much longer. 

Or maybe it is harder to find common interests as we grow older, harder to seek out new friends in an environment that doesn’t feel like a speed dating hall, and watching a game of football on TV softens the need to make continual conversation. It’s easier to let your kids snack on the couch in an acquaintance’s house when her children and husband are doing the same thing. There isn’t awkward tension when you bring food that matches your dietary needs because everyone is invited to bring, share, taste and enjoy as much or as little as they wish. 

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This is why football matters in our family. Don’t get me wrong; it definitely matters who is winning and losing to my boys, but the joy that comes from an afternoon of football is greater when we share it with others…and their food. 

The National Football Foundation (NFF) launched Football Matters to celebrate the positive impact the game has made on millions of players, coaches, administrators, volunteers, and fans nationwide. Football Matters spotlights and explains the many benefits that football brings to communities, schools, families, and individuals and the opportunities it provides to those on and off the field and at every level. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Hi, I am Elizabeth! I am married to a Chattanooga fire fighter, and mother to four boys and a princess who test my sanity and patience on an hourly basis. To keep my head above the waters of parenting, I get lost in books and try to articulate my thoughts into words with meaning. Our daily activities include playing outside, wrestling, sword fighting and trying to time everything to produce the most sleep at night. Follow me on Instagram @BossMom_247 for insights on living with boys, possibly a few rants and definitely an overabundance of baby girl pictures.