Its noises become the soundtrack to our autumn. The grunts, whistles, cheers, the sharp crunch of two swift bodies violently colliding. It's all part of the mix tape that echoes and hums inside our stadiums, classrooms, households -- and in our heads --over the course of the fall.
As a cultural force, the sport
has become omnipresent. Football
inspires passion in this
country, the kind of passion that
is difficult to find outside the
realms of politics or religion. Its
strategic and yet barbaric beauty
brings together men and
women from every walk of life,
and in many cases, it crosses racial
and economic lines to help
foster a sense of community.
And though the sport's intensity
swells throughout the fall
until it crests with the Super
Bowl, each day the game shapes
the lives of hundreds of thousands,
if not millions, of those
unable to ignore its allure.
It can be found in the faces of
the parents who stand breathless
on the sideline as their son
takes his first handoff in a youth
You can see it in the cheerleader
who paints her cheeks and
practices back flips as she choreographs
game's halftime performance.
You'll find it in the die-hard
fan who skips work to drive to
another state and tailgate in anticipation
of the big rivalry
And you'll see it in the eyes of
the aging NFL superstar, the one
who ignores his aching muscles
and his stiff joints, and prays, as
he puts on his helmet each Sunday
afternoon, for one last taste
of fame and glory.
Beginning today and continuing
every Sunday until the end
of the year, The Sun will present
a series dedicated to the people
who help make up the varied aspects
of America's game. You'll
experience the glamour of an
NFL superstar's life, the thrill
and anguish of a gambler trying
to master his trade, the quiet
dedication of a high school
cheerleader and tireless efforts
of an anonymous equipment
Our first installment, about
Maryland's Andrew Crummey
and the injury he suffered
Oct. 6, begins here.
[KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG]
About the series
Each year, as summer wanes and fall beckons, the game of football calls out to us.
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