I watch every Tennessee Titans’ game with my boys. I have three boys, ages seven to thirteen, and they all love sports. They really love the Titans. My youngest will wear the same Titans’ outfit every Sunday while watching the game. My middle son will wear a Titans’ jersey and his Titans’ gloves. My oldest doesn’t wear anything special but pays more attention to the game than any of them.
We watched the Titans take on the Kansas City Chiefs a few days ago, as most of you probably did. My oldest was only able to watch the first half with us because he had the opportunity to attend a college basketball game. I hate it that he missed the second half, because the football he got to see was not that enjoyable. The Titans were a mess in the first half. They made multiple mistakes on offense and defense. They allowed the Chiefs to dictate the terms of the engagement. But even with too many missed opportunities, mental errors, and bad plays on the field, the Titans were still only down 17-7 going into halftime.
Then it got good.
I’ve written before about controlling my emotions and reactions while watching sports with my kids. In the past, I did a bad job of modeling positive behavior when my teams would lose. I made a commitment that I would work on this and the results have been mostly good. And my kids are following right along since they no longer have to watch their dad make a fool of himself yelling at the television screen every few minutes. Don’t get me wrong; I still get animated. I still cheer. I still yell at the TV from time to time. But I do my best to not allow the result of the game to affect the rest of my day.
With all that said, I had a pretty loud and intense inner dialogue going on throughout the second half. I knew how important this game was for the Titans’ playoff chances. I knew they were capable of playing better than they played in the first half. So when things did not go as desired, my inner idiot did a lot of yelling and venting. On the outside, I remained calm and jovial. I smiled at my boys. I joked with them. I talked about how much better this Titans’ team is than in previous seasons. But inside, I was fuming mad and frustrated.
Fortunately, for my mental well-being, the Titans did start to play better. The defense made play after play in the second half, keeping the Chiefs scoreless for the final 30 minutes of the game. The offense didn’t do a lot, but when it counted most – the fourth quarter – Marcus Mariota and company did exactly what they needed to do to win the game.
What a way to win the game though! When Ryan Succop lined up to kick the game winner, I knew Andy Reid was going to call a timeout. So, I didn’t get nervous at all. I did swallow a little harder when he missed that kick by a good five yards though, but I figured it could help him make the kick that counted. I sat there with my two boys. We all moved the edge of the couch. I put my arm around both of them and said, “If he doesn’t make this, this was still a really fun game to watch.” They nodded in agreement. Right before the kick happened, my teenage international student/daughter strolled into the room. My boys yelled for her to come watch the kick with us. She happily complied. We were ready.
The scene in my house after the kick was one of joyful insanity. We were all jumping, yelling, whooping, high fiving, and hugging. There were enough smiles in the room to last us the rest of the year.1
This is why we watch sports. It’s for these moments. Thank you, Tennessee Titans, for giving us a season to remember. No matter what happens in the next two weeks, this season has been a joy to experience.
- We got to relive all the best moments when my oldest son got home from the basketball game. He had heard they won while at the game but didn’t know the particulars. We were very happy to share them with him. ↩