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CHRIS MOORE — NFL season brings sense of normalcy

Even with the omnipresent reminders that sports and the world around us are forever intertwined, the visual of touchdown celebrations, feats of peak human athleticism and that feeling in one’s stomach as their favorite NFL team takes on that must-have drive came rushing back Sunday.

Football is back.

However, leading up to Sunday, the cues to which we are accustomed weren’t present. For many in Southeast Texas, in-person school has not yet begun. Many high school football teams are still preparing to play their first scrimmage game this week. That cold front that made it snow in Denver even bluffed a blitz on us. The first game of the season, was head-to-head with an NBA playoff game.

It started to feel as though nobody was ready to answer the question that Hank Williams Jr. asked us long ago. Are you ready for some football?

Up until last Thursday, the answer to that question seemed like an echoing “meh.”

But then, something magical happened. Padded people in uniforms collided.

An oblong ball made of pigskin began to soar through the air with archer-like accuracy (unless you are a Browns fan). Tests of the limits of human athleticism were on display on fields across the nation.

Cowboys’ fans, once again, saw their team go from Super Bowl contenders, to another season of mediocrity in just one week.

What once seemed to be completely in doubt, was again a tale as old as time. Football is back.

Sure, there were times that viewers knew they could not escape the world around them. Those hoping to forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic might have been reminded as we watched Kansas City head coach Andy Reid’s protective face shield fog up during the Thursday night blowout win over the Texans.

Those wishing to escape the social unrest following several police shootings across the country likely saw players demonstrating during pre-game rituals.

For the decent, the benign gestures of locking arms and painting “Equality” and “It takes all of us” in the end zones weren’t distracting from the fact that the sport we love has returned.

With so much unwanted surprises in 2020, it was pleasant to seem something familiar — Drew Brees and Tom Brady playing football, as we have since whenever the forward pass was invented.

As we go forward into the season, there will undoubtedly be reminders of the world. The players will continue to peacefully protest the killings of unarmed American citizens at the hands of the state. Positive coronavirus cases will sideline some players. Politics, and more specifically, politicians will point the flag towards the league.

However, we get to decide how this impacts our viewing experience.

Even as we go out of control toward an election pin balling off COVID-19 and social justice, among other topics, keep in mind that if we want to keep politics out of sports, then we have to also keep sports out of politics, too.

 

Chris Moore is sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.