Column- Gridiron glory: More than just football

Chris Biderman

The leaves are starting to change color, the ocean breeze is getting cooler, and people are starting to talk less about pennant races as baseball teams have solidified their positions in the playoffs.

That’s right, football season is upon us. The men of the gridiron are finally taking the field after all the months of weightlifting, conditioning, scrimmaging, and mini-camps.

It’s perhaps America’s fiercest sport with men of super-human stature take the field with one goal in mind; victory no matter what the cost.

Last week I had the opportunity to watch these great athletes take the field when I drove home to the Bay Area to watch the 49ers take on the Cardinals in Monday Night Football.

My inclusion into the 49er fan circle came in the first grade when my father took me to my first game. It was after that afternoon that we both fell in love with the red and gold. Neither one of us missed a home contest for eight straight seasons.

The following year came my parents’ divorce, something that a second grader should never be forced to go through. The times were tough and the only thing on my mind was how I could make mommy and daddy love each other again. The bickering was constant and only made things worse. It forced me to realize that things would never change and I would have to get used to the life of living with two single parents.

But every Sunday my father and I had an outlet: we had football.

We had the long drives, the steak sandwiches, the seat cushions, the jerseys, the jackets, and even the socks. Yes, the socks with the little gold helmet on them.

We got to see the highest rated quarterback of all time throw passes to the greatest receiver of all time. We got to see our team win a super bowl ring. That was our outlet from the trouble at home.

Years later when high school came and free time left, we were unable to keep our season tickets. But it came at an acceptable time as the once great 49ers turned into the NFL’s cellar dwellers by becoming a 2-14 team.

The anticipation for Monday’s game was off the charts and was only intensified by my five-hour trek last week. Finally I exited the freeway amidst intense traffic and saw the lights of the stadium glowing through the Bay Area mist. In the distance I could hear 70 thousand die-hards like me screaming their lungs out. I remembered what I had missed over these last four years.

There I was, sprinting from my parking spot through the hoards of people and cars just to get to the entrance on time. I was a little kid again.

Football season is unlike any other. Every down, players sacrifice their bodies and even their livelihood. They put themselves through insane physical torture just for the glory of victory. Most players can hardly walk after enduring a full NFL career. Just ask Buffalo Bills’ tight-end Kevin Everett.

So it’s that time again. Fantasy football gurus will spend Sundays tracking stats, communities will all be wearing the same colors, chowing down on the same hot dogs and drinking the same over-priced beer. But most of all, our heroes will be sacrificing everything they’ve got to provide relief for the troubles the real world faces.

Are you ready for some football?