Football, its more than just a game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Don&8217;t let anyone tell you it&8217;s just a game.

In many areas &8212; ours included &8212; football acts like the glue that holds us all together.

Monday night, in a place that badly needed it, football instilled pride. It gave hope where hope is in short supply. It put smiles on faces that have had no reason to in a long time.

Emotions were running high when New Orleans welcomed home its Saints in a Monday Night Football match-up at the Superdome.

On the field, the Saints have regained their swagger. In the city, it seems the fans never lost theirs, despite losing nearly everything else.

The stadium was still full, still gleaming for nearly an hour after the game clock expired, even though the game was in the bag by the third quarter.

The football game was described by some as the perfect distraction from the troubled lives of a city struggling to rebuild. In actuality, it was more of a return to a normalcy than a distraction from plight.

Football is woven deeply into the American fabric &8212; from major market cities backing professional franchises to communities rallying around high school squads.

For proof of football&8217;s bonding power head to Calera this week, where the town is preparing for a Friday night battle between their Eagles and the Shelby County Wildcats.

Poke your head in a local business and ask who is going to win the Cornerstone Christian-Shelby Academy game. It may go either-way, but chances are, you’ll get an emphatic answer.

Still, the influences of football go well beyond Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.

Men who 40 years ago toiled under a hot Shelby County sun for legendary Wildcats coach Don Bulger, today hold leadership roles as state legislators, successful businessmen and county leaders.

And they credit football for teaching them lessons they couldn’t learn anywhere else.

Just a game?

No, it’s much more than that