Football Father-In-Law

I started to write this post with anecdotes about phone calls on Sunday and Monday nights that were filled with scores and passes and rushes and other things I didn’t understand – because they were the only thing Carroll knew how to tell us.

But the story starts much further back than that – to a talented college football player whose dreams of playing pro-ball were crushed in a flash of metal. My father-in-law was drafted to the Chicago Bears so many years ago, but one moment in time diverted him to a high school gym teacher and football coach.

I don’t mean to imply he regretted his life, it was just certainly different than he thought it would be, all those year ago.

And in many ways, he continued to communicate through football for the rest of his life, even though he could not play.

We moved to Denver exactly 17 years ago, almost to the date, and after we moved – it seemed like our connection with Dad was cut. I was never sure if he was confused with our choice, or he was just more of in-the-flesh kind of guy.

Either way – our best conversations were about football.

Now let’s be clear – neither Bryan and I really care about the sport, other than the typical rah-rah root for the home team stuff. But when Carroll would call, I was always reminded of the line from City Slickers (I can’t believe I am quoting that movie): “When I was a teenager and I couldn’t talk to my dad about anything, we could always talk about baseball.”

It was just like that. (Except with football.)

Now that Carroll has been gone for several years, football season makes me sad. Every Sunday I look at the phone, waiting for it to ring. This season, there would have been a lot of ribbing about how poorly the Broncos have been playing. And he would have relished each Ravens win… (30-7 over the Chiefs today).

In fact, I have kept an eye on the scores more closely since he has been gone. We’ve even watched a few games when we’ve had the time.

It’s like we’re still talking to Carroll when we do.


This article has 9 comments

  1. Rachel

    As a football fan (specifically Bears before Broncos), this touched me oh so deeply. I am both smiling and shedding a few tears.

  2. zipper

    That is really lovely, Aimee.

  3. mayberry

    Wow. I have an uncle I used to be so close (geographically, and emotionally) when I was younger. We’ve drifted so far apart by now, but he still calls often to talk about sports–mostly football. After reading this, I will be much less likely to screen those calls.

  4. Megan

    I am like this with my dad too. TOTALLY get this.

  5. J at

    Not a football fan, but this touched me as well. I used to have long conversations about oh-so-many-things every other Sunday with my mom. Often I would think, before our call, I don’t think I have anything to talk about tonight, gosh I’d rather watch a movie with my family. And then, 3 or 4 hours later, after confessing secrets, laughing, crying, boring each other with talk of pets and books and tv shows the other person wasn’t interested in, enthralling each other with talk about my daughter, Grandma, books, movies, and tv shows we were both interested in, I’d troop off to bed, late, my husband and daughter long since asleep. I miss her every Sunday, not just every other Sunday. OK, more like every day.

  6. FireMom

    We have had a similar football season, though regarding my grandfather. He passed away last January. Now that the Steelers are having a decent season, I almost dread them making it to the Super Bowl. It’s already been weird to not have the phone ring on game day or, when visiting The Farm, to hear him yelling with my dad. I don’t know if I can endure a Super Bowl party for our team without him.

  7. Leigh

    Great post Aimee. Shed a little tear on this one myself. We do what we can after they’re gone.

  8. Heather

    I totally get this. I watch most of the Browns games and I realize that it has been that way for the 6 years since my dad passed away.

  9. chloebear

    I totally feel the same way about fishing/camping/salsa with my dad & tamales/ornament shopping with my mom. Valued, Treasured, Moments.

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