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tarek's Blog
How football stole my heart. 
Posted on October 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM.
This is a love story. And it all begins with a 12 year old boy, in 1990...

Living in Australia you didn't hear much about sports other than league, union or AFL. But one day my dad came home and had purchased the Lakers Back-to-Back championship DVD for my brother and I.

We watched it, numerous times. Like our favorite movies, we memorized and recited quotes from that DVD. 'Give it in to the Captain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.' became just as prominent as 'These aren't the droids you're looking for.' in our household.

And with that, a basketball fan was born. For 20 years my obsession grew. I taped as many dream team games from 1992. I fell in love with the local basketball team, the Sydney Kings, and their star import Dwayne McClain. I taped every Saturday NBA show with Bill Woods and Steve Carfino.

I watched Magic retire. I watched Jordan win. I watched Ewing try to win. I watched Rodman's hair colour change. I watched Grant Hill make his first few shots as a rookie at the all-star game. I watched as much basketball as I possibly could.

But somewhere along the line, the flaws became more prominent. Maybe I was older and wiser. Maybe they were more blatant. Maybe my values were becoming different. I can't pinpoint the exact reason, all I know is that things changed.

And it all came to the forefront with one simple event. The Decision. How could a man be so oblivious, so blatant, so self absorbed? And how could companies and news outlets be so desperate to turn profits from this situation? I was amazed.

It was a catalyst. It changed the game for me, now in my 30s with a family of my own. A 20 year NBA fan veteran, being insulted like that.

A year later the NBA locked it's players out. Billionaires fought with millionaires. I fought with my wife over how much money to budget for in the purchase of a house. We were not poor, both earning six figure salaries, but still had financial issues and concerns that most people do.

And through it all I became ashamed to support the NBA. The previous season has seen a near 70% increase in the price of International League Pass, to the point where I felt it was no longer a viable investment. I purchased my daughter a NY Knicks backpack for nearly $60, when a Dora backpack would have cost $10. It was becoming expensive.......and they were fighting over it.

The Decision. The lockout. And finally, the man wearing #6 won a championship. He was exonerated. He was reborn. A winner. A champion. Past sins forgiven. Media proclaiming that he had made 'the leap'. He'd fulfilled his destiny.

Really?? Tell that to the 6 year old boy, asking his dad why his hero didn't want to play for his team. The 10 year old looking at his Cavs #23 hanging in the closet, with sadness in his eyes.

People have said to look past it. To accept it. That he isn't a slave and could do what he wanted. Whatever. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but loyalty means something to me.

So now I felt lost. The NBA was no longer the lover I once knew. It had broken my heart time and again. And I was tired. I didn't want to watch games. I didn't want to read news. I traded in NBA 2K12.

Then one day on the OS forums, someone mentioned a game called NFL Head Coach 09. A game already 4 years old. But the promise was there. And I took a plunge.

What I found was a sport full of intrigue, strategy, history and passion. A sport which too had it's problems, with lockouts and players. But I knew none of that. I hadn't been affected by it. It was new to me.

And I fell in love again. I was that 12 year old boy again. Studying the new sport. Learning the positions. Learning the strategies.

Then came the NFL season. I downloaded a game, a Denver Broncos game. And I watched Peyton Manning in his first game back. A story book game. A passionate game.

The NBA is on the verge of starting a new season, and I could care less. I watch 1-2 NFL games per week. I play HC09 and NCAA13 and love it. I'm slowly learning about this new sport and every step is an adventure that brings a smile to my face.

Goodbye NBA. I'll check on you every now and again. But it might be a while before you see me back again, if ever. Maybe when that man in Miami finally retires, and time has healed these wounds. But until then....

Thank you football.
Comments
# 1 KungPaow @ Oct 24
Really interesting story, I started learning a bit of football this year, watching every Eagles game that starts on 1pm EST, because of the time zone.
 
# 2 Jimbo614 @ Oct 24
Well, there's a reason the NFL has become America's number one game over the last 50 years. The NBA has flash and color. MLB is a thinking man's game. But both bow to the almighty NFL. Enjoy my friend, enjoy.
 
# 3 tarek @ Oct 25
Thanks for the replies guys. I definitely am enjoying. I've also really started to appreciate baseball too, however, since they play an excessive amount of games I find it difficult to keep up.
With a 16 game NFL schedule every game has meaning. It means I can watch 1-2 games a week and still see most teams play. It's easier to keep up and I don't have to follow too closely during the week.

It's not just a brilliant game but its really designed for my lifestyle I feel.

The NBA has become all flash and posing. Jay-Z producing 2K13 doesn't make me hard like it makes some others. Whilst I like hip hop, I appreciate the strong orchestral music from the NFL. It's feels epic, like a battle is about to take place, and in a way, it does.
 
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