October 06, 2012

Lesson 48: The Number 48 (A Week of Numbers)

Football season has begun. 

Believe or not, I, Katherine Ashbaugh, voted "Most Spirited" in the Class of 2002 for having missed only one game in all four years of high school, have yet to watch a single one this year. 

(Well, unless you count talking non-stop during a Clemson one a few weeks ago. I'd tell you who they were playing, but I don't actually know.)

The reason? It could be in part because we don't have a television. It could be that our neighbors moved, and they did have a television and we watched games there. Honestly though, it's mostly because I no longer really care.

Ya'll, I've already come out to those closest to me, so I might as well come out to you as well. I am over football!

Gasp! I'll give you a moment to catch your breath, get the nasty thoughts out of your head, and allow you to remember all the good times we've had together before proceeding.

I'm not going to list the reasons. There are too many, and I'm not in the business of alienating readers!

However, seeing as this is my 48th blog post, and I've decided this week of posts will pertain to numbers, it is only fitting to give credit where credit is do. 

Mark and I both attended Virginia Tech, just after the Vick years. When Mark was in college, he faithfully and enthusiastically attended every home football game and trekked across the country to Texas A&M, Washington D.C., Miami, New Orleans, and so on to cheer on the Hokies.

He didn't know a single person on the field personally.

I, on the other hand? Well, this is one of my favorite college photos.

This is me with #48, Brandon Manning ... my brother. 

During my years in college, my brother started as outside linebacker for 2 years and led the special teams in tackles. He was on the team the year we won our first ACC Championship!

This is right after we defeated Miami to secure a spot in the Sugar Bowl!

Turns out it is very different to watch a football game when you care about a specific player. Though I have far and away attended more football games then Mark, he probably understands the overall game better than me. Why? While Mark watched the game as a whole, in the Manning family, we watched the outside linebacker! 

Every step, every play, every tackle was seen by our extremely focused eyes. For sixteen years, I was a devoted, loving, passionate fan, but more than that, I was a sister. 

Football ran in the family, and when my younger brother turned in his equipment, so did I. 

It's debatable, but I've come to the conclusion that I've never really loved football. I've always only loved my brothers. 

So, for now, I've given up football. We spend Saturdays doing projects, taking Samara and Hudson on adventures, and relaxing. It is good for our family and for our well-being in general. 

(Not to mention, I am over having the mood of my week being determined by whether or not the guys on "my" team scored more points than the guys on theirs. You did not want to talk to me when we lost!)

That being said. Oh how I love fall ... and tailgating ... and being in a stadium ... and cheering ... and well, all that football entails for a fan.

The other day, when Hudson made a perfect 3-point stance (he's 8 months old), I couldn't help but think, maybe, just maybe I'll get that old urge again. That desire to commit ten Saturdays in a row to supporting a boy I love as he learns teamwork, perseverance, commitment, failure and triumph, strength, and on and on, on the field. 


Lesson Learned: I loved the game, because I loved the players. 


  1. Aw, I can totally relate! :) I think it's so cute that you're already looking forward to what your children will become. They'll be great, no matter what they do. But football is the same for me...it's only fun when I KNOW the players. And that hasn't been the case since high school.

    1. I am the luckiest guy in the world because if the truth must be known, my wife actually likes to watch football more than me, her husband, who played 11 years, coached 10 and watched sons play many more. How many husbands are out being told they are boring or have a to do list waiting while the are trying to watch a football game. However, I don't think I will ever stop enjoying Friday night High School football wherever we happen to live. We started watching those games in the fall of 1983 after we had moved to Reston Virgina and met friends who had sons playing. Haven't looked back since. But now a days, it really is more about the overall atmosphere than who wins the game. OK, now loosing only bothers us for about a day instead of all week. But, we actually watch and enjoy the bands. CD cheerleaders leave a lot to be desired. But we never tire of meeting other faithful fans who too had sons playing in yesteryear. Plus, it just feels right to support something positive for the community as a whole. Why not support kids who have worked hard rather than just sitting at home. Actually Katherine, parents who only came the years their kids play kind of irritate me. It isn't just about their kids. It is about the whole community. And considering how cheap it is, (For us it is free since Linda and one guest gets in for free since she teaches and Tyler is always a manager), it makes for a great date since again, my wife usually watches more intensely than me.


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