Before Sunday, I had never felt capable of writing about politics. Even though I am Mexican and I had always been aware of the discrimination and inequality that some of my people suffer in the United States, I had never seen myself as someone able to elaborate an interesting and rational opinion about something so big, and at the same time so potentially divisive, as politics. Until…this Sunday.
There is something deeply ingrained in any type of person, regardless its race, religion or skin color. We all possess a special capacity to automatically defend any member of our family whenever he/she gets attacked by insults or even by minor disrespectful comments.
How can I possibly defend it? Should I?
I live in a country where thousands of people just lost their house due to one of the biggest natural disasters this world has ever seen. This should have probably made me understand how irrelevant and stupid these attacks really are. But, at the same time, Football has always taught me the relevance of teamwork, respect, and sacrifice. These, were perfectly exemplified in the way Mexicans became united. Not defending the game feels like betrayal given that it has always portrayed the most important values in society.
So, this Sunday, I wanted to write something. Using the aggressions against my beloved game, and the league that has well magnified its value as an excuse, I wanted to vent and finally communicate how do I feel about Donald Trump and his continuous derogatory speeches against Mexicans and all other minorities.
Then, before I could even start typing, something curious happened…
A rookie, by the name of Jake Elliott, was mobbed by all his teammates after an unbelievable 61-yard field goal with one second remaining giving the Eagles their second win of the season and leaving the “Super Bowl contenders” NY Giants winless. The longest game winning kick by a rookie since 1991…priceless.
Another rookie, in the most unexpected offensive performance of the year, threw for 301 yards and put up 33 points against Bill Belichick. Deshaun Watson almost became the first rookie QB to ever beat Bill Belichick if it was not for somebody known as THE BEST who got his 40th 4th quarter comeback! (if you haven’t seen that final Brady throw, here it is, and please, please, don’t ever dare to call him old again…)
That was not all. When you could have thought those were the two most impressive rookie performances of the week, Kareem Hunt appeared and exploded 69 yards through Chargers defense becoming the first rookie to have three 50+ rushing touchdowns in his first three games. Hunt also became the ninth player since 1950 to record 100+ scrimmage yards in each of his first three games. Every veteran running back must be hurting…
At Chicago, Steelers reminded everybody that there’s no stronger power than the power of sports to unite people. Except from Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, the entire team boycotted the anthem staying at their locker room. In Football related matters, Bears reminded us that anything could happen on any given Sunday…even this. (by the way, Steelers are 12-10 and averaging 20.8 points per game on the road since 2015)
Then, just in case we had any doubts of why football is considered a game of inches, Detroit and Atlanta provided an unbelievable reminder . The call on the field, as uncommon as it looks, is totally fair. What seems not fair, is how the Lions always manage to lose close games. Remember the “Calvin Johson” rule?
No, Sunday was not done at all. At the same time, Broncos lost their eight game winning streak in September, Cleveland secured the first overall pick for the 100th time, Case Keenum looked like Sam Braford after throwing for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns, Jets won a game!, the “terrible” Saints defense manhandled Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers finally won in overtime for the first time in his career, and Washington made us rewrite our AFC Championship Game predictions.
After all, five of the early games came down to the last minute, eight total games were defined by less than seven points, London was an absolute success again, over 250 players locked arms, ALL 31 owners showed some type of support to its players, and the league aired one of the best commercials ever.
After all, before I could even start writing, I felt relieved again. I realized I did not have to speak and defend my football family. They have done it for me in an indescribable and profound way. They have reminded me that the power of sports goes beyond words and will always be able to thrive even under the worst attacks.
I was right, I will never be able to respond to insults with letters. Once again, Football reminded me that is in its the demonstrations of unity, respect, teamwork, and sacrifice, where an unbroken shield is created.
I just feel sorry for the people that are not able to see it.