First, let me just say that I love all sports. Okay, curling is...interesting and synchronized swimming? I don't count that as a sport. But for the most part I love all sports. But from the time I was about 5 years old there was something about football. I saw my first game when I was 5. It was a high school game in East Peoria, Illinois and, of course, when you're 5, watching high school players is like watching grown adult men. The players looked huge and I was fascinated by 22 guys just jumping on each other making a big pile over and over. Long break away runs by running backs gave me a thrill and the players got so dirty and grass stained! I thought the dirty uniforms looked really cool. What was there not to like. It just looked like great fun and those aspects of the game certainly grabbed my interest. I got my first uniform for Christmas when I was 5. You know the type - the one you buy at the local department store. It was a red and white uniform with the #51 sown on it by my mom. (I was born in '51 thus the #51). I loved putting that uniform on and pretending I was a real player. I wanted to get it dirty like the big guys.
When I was 6 I played my first game in my neighbor's back yard. It was my little brother and me against our 8 year old neighbor. Running for touchdowns, tackling, and piling on were about the most fun I could have. I loved the smell of the dirt and grass when we were on the ground and I loved the smell of the leather football. Still love those smells even now. At the age of 6 I was hooked for life. So I guess it was a combination of several things. Regardless, I was hooked on football and from there my love for the sport grew.
Naturally, as I got older I began to love the strategy and science of the game but that's another story. For the next several years I played football on the sandlots, in flag football, and high school ball. I coached high school football for nearly 30 years and have many great memories. Now retired from coaching, I love the game as much as ever. And guess what? My son is a high school football coach so I still have a connection to the game. It is as much part of my life as just about anything other than my family. I would be curious to know what drew you to the sport. Let me know if you get the chance or just think back and ask yourself what it was that hooked you. As for me, there's just something about football. I love it!