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On the topic of football and remembering

It’s been a while since I have written anything on here. That’s not to say I don’t think about my Dad quite literally every day – but I haven’t sat down and written about him in quite a while. I don’t know why I haven’t taken the time, talking to him was always something I looked forward to most. Sometimes I swear I can almost hear his responses.

I feel I should start out with something that would make him smile – the Jets aren't doing terribly this year. As of writing this, they are on a 4-win streak with a record of 5-2. While on fall break, I had to take a minute to laugh, because they were having their best start since 2017 – which I know he would be absolutely loving. Fair warning though they are facing the Patriots this weekend, so we have to keep our fingers crossed.

The first Jets game my Dad took me to was a Jets vs. Patriots game. I only remember that because it was the first time the Jets won since 2000, the year I was born, and the whole way home he called me his lucky charm as we listened to Shania Twain and played the alphabet game. I didn’t understand football then, and I still don’t entirely get it now, but I just loved being there with him. Seeing how excited he got, how he'd yell from our seats as if the coaches on the field could hear him. It didn’t matter if he were in the living room of our house or at the stadium, he'd still cheer so loud with each score.

As I sit in his old Jets sweatshirt tonight through teary eyes, I realize that’s how I like to remember my father. Passionate. Boisterous. Loud. Full of emotion and life, and enjoying every second of it.

I have spent a lot of time just feeling horrible about all we lost. At times, to be totally honest, it feels like I lost him before I truly did – because that loud guy who I’d be able to hear from my bedroom cheering each touchdown was gone. He lost his big belly, which used to bump me onto the bed when I was little causing me to laugh so loud mom would scold us because Bailey was asleep. For a while, he lost his voice, which would sing songs both beautifully and comically – from Brick House to Silver Bells. And in a way, he lost himself, as the cancer took him bit by bit in front of our very eyes.

I feel, guiltily so, that I spend so much time stuck on who he was at the end, that I don’t take the time to love and celebrate who he was before that. In the stands screaming my name at my powderpuff football game, or maybe screaming at me in general while teaching me to drive. I may have lost him, but I didn’t lose the memories I have growing up with him. And while we don’t get to make new ones, that only means I get to cherish the old ones even more.

I promise my next post will come much sooner than this one did. It’s therapeutic, even if I don’t ever get a response. Some part of me knows he is reading them, and even if he isn’t and I am just rambling into the void – it makes him feel a little closer than he actually is.

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andrea ralls
andrea ralls
25 oct 2022

❤️so so proud of you. The only thing Dad cheered more loudly for than the jets was you and your sisters! I know he is doing so today. love you

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