Fatherhood, Football, And Friendship

My Dad and I have had a tumultuous relationship. We’ve been through a “Hell in a Cell” match and more. Many father-son combinations wouldn’t speak to each other if they’ve had our experiences. It felt like we used to have a fake relationship banded together by the Seattle Seahawks. But then I stopped liking football, and we were left with nothing. It felt like we had no common interests, and the darkness would never pass. But as time went on and distance lingered. We found our way back to one another. Here’s our story of fatherhood, football, and friendship.

Growing up

As a kid, there was nothing more I loved than going to the Kingdome with my Dad. One of my first memories was attending a “Sunday Night Football” game with pops. The Oakland Raiders were in town, and my Dad informed me, “This would be my first real football experience.”

Upon arriving at the stadium, I felt it. 

The opponent’s faithful were slathered in silver and black and juiced up for the contest.

I loved it.

As my childhood continued, I went to several meaningful matchups. I saw division-clinching wins, multiple playoff games, and a conference championship.

The 2005 NFC Championship Game between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks is my favorite childhood memory. 

I still remember the Hawks sprinting onto the field while the song “Bittersweet Symphony” by “The Verve” played in the background. Combine this with 60,000 wild fans waving lime green towels, and you’ve got the Seattle experience.

Unfortunately, Jerome Bettis and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Hawks in the Super Bowl. But the NFC Championship memory will always be there. 

I didn’t know it would take a while to come back. 

The Middle

As I finished high school and entered my college years, I took an interesting path. 

A path that I don’t know if I’m proud of, but it’s my voyage. My Dad took an interesting path in his own right and probably felt something similar.

But during this timeframe, we did still go to Seahawks games

One of these contests was the 2013 NFC Championship game vs. the San Francisco 49ers. 

This is the outing where Richard Sherman deflected a pass leading to a game-winning interception by Malcolm Butler in the endzone. Sherman then proceeded to call Michael Crabtree a “Sorry ass receiver.” 

Even though the game was legendary, I was too intoxicated to remember most of the matchup. 

My Dad and I had a blast and then proceeded to spiral deeper.

This momentous moment was the beginning of our treachery.

Finding Oneself

After ten years of losing my soul, I slowly began to dig myself out of the casket. I drank less, ate healthier, and began to find self-love. 

Along with this increased vibrancy, I also started figuring out my true interests. And it isn’t what I thought it would be.

For the first 28 years of my life, I lived, breathed, and Madden’ed football. It was that and hoops.

But with increased awareness and sobriety, I realized I found football boring. There’s something about a three-hour game with stops every ten seconds that makes me want to do a math equation. 

Ya, it’s real. 

But this likely hurt my Dad. From his perspective, it probably felt like the end of our relationship. He likely assumed I stopped watching football because of him, some attempt at reverse psychology.

As my interest in football continued to wane, so did our relationship. It reached a point where pops and I would go for months without speaking to one another. This became a regular occurrence.

It felt like neither of us was sure if we would ever have a relationship again. 

But then, about a month ago, we met up and apologized to each other. It was probably the first real conversation we’d ever had. 

We recognized this moment by going to the New York Jets-Seattle game last Sunday.

After the event, my Dad and I spoke on the phone, and he asked me, “If I had fun.”

I told him, “I did,” but didn’t give him the full answer. 

The full answer is football is boring, but it was cool kicking it with you.  

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About Nick Bartlett 165 Articles
My Name is Nick Bartlett and I am a staff writer here at OregonSportsNews, The Broadcast Manager at SportsPac12, and I am a youth Basketball Coach at Lakeside Middle School. I’ve had my articles featured in the Seattle PI, OregonLive, and various other publications. I also have my own Podcast/YouTube Show titled “The Nick Bartlett Show.” I am from Shoreline, WA (North Seattle) and I am a graduate of the Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University. For business inquiries, you can find my contact information below. Email: NB206wsu@gmail.com, Twitter: @WordsByBartlett