American football is war. Heavy armored strategic war. What the rest of the world calls football, and we call soccer, is life.
To the uninitiated it’s a boring pointless game. For 90 minutes 22 grownups chase a ball, covering the same turf over and over, clashing and kicking and jumping and falling, unprotected by gear. Their elusive goal, to thread the ball past all hurdles to its destination, yields frustration more often than success. Imagine our football or basketball games routinely ending in a Nil-Nil tie, or if lucky a One-Nil win. No one would come. Yet to billions of non-Americans football is akin to a religious pageant, a grand metaphor.
Out on the playing field, in their shorts and jerseys, the players enact an unfounded hope, common to all humans, to score an arbitrary goal they have set for themselves through perseverance, skill, and luck, hopefully unharmed. And, should their enterprise fail, to remember that they played fair, got a kick out of playing, and that it may go better the next time.