I have always been a tomboy at heart. But no matter how masculine I strived to be in the name of my feminist generation, I never got the fascination of, or with, football. 

In high school, I dated a couple of football players, even proudly wore a great guy’s jersey to his game in support, but still never understood the point of this game. Watching them run and jump on each other, for a ball that’s shaped more like a weapon they should be running away from, made absolutely no sense to me. 

In December 2019 I rescued a dog entirely by accident. He was only 5mths old and already 55lbs. Through research and other dog owner experts, we concluded he’s Anatolian Shephard and Husky mix, with a spoonful of Akita. We also discovered he already had 4 other owners, us being his 5th. 2 weeks of his life he was out wondering around in 20 degree snowing weather on the golf course behind us, which is when owner #4 found him. She said he was covered in mud and blood which probably happened from a fall in the creek near the golf course. Though she wanted to keep him, she couldn’t be home with him enough because of her job. With all the trauma and abandonment, he’d already experienced in such a short time, he couldn’t handle being home alone. I worked remotely for 4 years and had the flexibility to take on a puppy if I wanted but wasn’t sure I could handle the task of an animal while living in an apartment with limited space. 

But he reminded me of a dog from the ranch I worked at years prior, and I couldn’t resist the idea to keep him. The first few weeks were challenging as we learned what he could eat. He just started to lose his teeth and the puppy food I bought upset his stomach. Did I mention we lived on the 3rd floor? 

We also had two cats at the time who weren’t as welcoming as we were to the idea of living with an animal bigger than them. They never figured out that no matter how much they hissed and smacked at him they were giving him someone to chase. 

One evening, it was the usual for the 2nd week in a row that I had to stop him from messing with the cats and he turned it to a game of chase. No matter what I did I could never catch him. He would move left and then fake me out to go right then jump over the furniture like an all-star athlete. Being that he’s also extremely fast he’d quickly be out of my reach. But this time I was a little quicker than him and did what I saw those men in tights on the field do. Dog pile! I leaped and with all my might, tackled him. It was in that moment, I finally understood football. Immediately, I felt the rush of adrenaline surge through me while I held on to my strong puppy as he ran at full speed across my bed. Being able to stop him using my physical strength was the ultimate masculine high. The testosterone in me applauded from head to toe. 

From that moment on I enjoyed watching him play at the dog park and interact with other dogs even more. And its because of him that I understand the fascination and passion men have for football. Though I’ll probably never find an interest in learning the details of downs vs. yards, and that’s perfectly fine. When I watch a game now its longer out of tolerance but to show my new found respect for men and their natural need for comradery and competition so they can continue to grow as individuals for the greater good of mankind. 

Perhaps, as women, we should too.