Touchdowns to Tradition This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Every Sunday I follow the same routine. In the morning I eat a late brunch and finish my homework. All work must be completed by kick-off time when my father and I take our seats in front of the TV for the football game. As New Englanders, it is only fitting that the team we cheer is the Patriots. My father and I enforce our own version of the "two-minute warning," insisting that excessive noise is not permitted. We advise my mother that the clang of dishes or the drone of a vacuum cleaner detracts from our viewing. Sometimes my mom will watch the game too, but usually it's just me and my dad.

To some, my Sunday activity seems untraditional and even odd. Why? Because I am a 17-year-old girl, and I enjoy watching football. Most people are used to hearing about a father and son who enjoy watching football together. Clearly, there are exceptions, and my dad and I are among them. Our viewing is quite different from guys, since I comment on the players' "outfits" rather than uniforms, and occasionally label passes as "pretty," but my dad and I have just as much fun as other fans.

The big difference lies in my motivation for watching the sport. I started not for the love of the game but to spend time with my dad. As we watched the Patriots win their way to Super Bowl 2001, my knowledge of football increased. More important, my relationship with my father grew into a strong bond that continues today. I have laughed until my stomach hurt, and I have developed my own "touchdown dance" when New England wins. Many a night we have stayed up to watch a late game, sneaking snacks my mom would not approve of. The next day I may be tired, but the fatigue is worth it. I value my time with Dad and plan to maintain our tradition for years to come.

The first time I watched football with my dad, I had low expectations and even predicted that I would leave at half-time, but that didn't happen. Instead, my dad eagerly explained all the regulations and some of the strategies. He discussed the teams' standings in the playoffs and identified the most talented players. The afternoon passed quickly, and I was happy to admit that my prediction did not come true.

After three years, we have rarely missed our weekly games. I'd always wanted a better relationship with my dad by getting involved in something he enjoyed. Both my parents always supported my interests. They were spectators in the stands whenever I played a sport or did an activity. I know now that an elementary-school basketball game is not very entertaining, but at the time I thought these games were the most exciting events of the week. Their attendance at games and performances allowed them to watch me mature. By watching football with my dad, I have a better understanding of the person he has grown up to be. This is the foundation of a strong relationship and whenever things get tough, I know that we have our bond.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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