It doesn’t get much more relaxing than a Sunday at Vassar College. The last day of the week is intended for rest, so that the student may take a break from the grind of daily classes and routine meetings with professors—it puts an end to the coming and going, the to and fro that has overwhelmed each and every one of us at some point or another. The rigors of coursework are put off—or, at least, ratcheted down a notch or two.
In my case, Sundays also serve as off days from basketball practice, which goes a long way in recovery and recuperation (both physical and mental). They are opportunities to sprawl out and relax for a short while, a not-so-busy conclusion to a nothing-but-busy previous six days. The weekly Sunday is the ideal down time.
Then you factor in professional football. You factor in the precision of Peyton Manning, the explosiveness of Dez Bryant and the burst of Jamaal Charles. You factor in the power of DeMarcus Ware, the intimidation of Patrick Willis and the attitude of Richard Sherman. You factor in the wisdom of Bill Belichick, one of the most successful coaches in the history of sports. You factor in the dominance of the Denver Broncos, one of the most potent teams in recent memory. On any given Sunday, there’s a whole lot to factor in.
There’s a whole lot to love about football, and the games seem to come at just the right time. After a grueling week of essays and tests and group projects, the National Football League provides an opportunity to get away from the stress and the overbearing workloads. It is the perfect distraction. Instead of worrying about that political science essay, you can take in that Calvin Johnson fade route or that highlight reel run by Adrian Peterson, or even that vicious tackle by Terrell Suggs in the backfield. There are just so many options, and NFL games allow you to get away from everything else for just a few hours because of the seemingly limitless viewing opportunities.
Away from grades and exams, professors and office hours, I appreciate every single moment of those Sundays, when I can just unwind on a comfortable chair with some tasty snacks and a football game in the background. A phenomenal touchdown catch here, a breathtaking touchdown run there. There’s nothing like it—forgoing schoolwork for a few hours and replacing an essay with Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy. That’s the definition of relaxation, and everyone needs to experience that state of rest for at least a certain period of time. It’s a necessity that cannot be overlooked.
Those are the memories that I will cherish most a decade from now—the sleepy Sunday afternoon with the football game in the background, fresh with a comfy armchair, some delicious food, and the warmth of good company to boot. Luckily for me, my roommate and I have a whole lot in common in that regard; unwinding and watching some good football on Sunday afternoons is at the top of his list of priorities, as it is mine. So, we spend countless hours doing exactly that. He loves rooting for his Buffalo Bills and I love rooting for my New England Patriots, and we get away from everything else together.
Motivated by our fanhood, we get away from it all in unison. Our teams of interest may be different, and we may have different reasons for watching a certain game, but the important thing is that we watch together. Sunday afternoons provide us with that opportunity, the chance to devote a few hours away from other entanglements and toward the National Football League. We’ll discuss, and we’ll argue, and we’ll cheer, and we’ll shout as football fans do.
I honestly don’t know what I would do without that time. It’s enjoyable, relaxing, thrilling, calming, and comforting all in one. There are so many talented players and so many exciting games, and then there’s the chance to take it all in with someone close to you. When you think about it, is there anything better than that?
I don’t think so, and I’ll recall those Sunday afternoons ten, twenty, fifty years from now. I’ll remember nothing but positive thoughts associated with the game of football, when I was able to get away from it all for just a little bit at a time. I’ll remember when my roommate was able to get away from it all, and we were brought closer together by our love for spectacular plays. Those touchdown catches and highlight reel runs from way back when probably won’t be as memorable, but that won’t matter one bit. What will matter is that Sunday state of relaxation, and that good company to make it that much better. The players and the plays and the games will all recede from memory, one by one, but that pleasant togetherness will remain forever.
Sports are not trivial. It isn’t just a game. There is much, much more to watching a football game—or a basketball game, or whatever else—than just watching to watch. It’s about all of the little things that come together at the perfect moment to create a memory for the ages, for years to come. Sports mean something deeper. I know that because of the countless Sunday afternoons spent at Vassar College, those joyous harbingers of rest and comfort and friendship.
Everyone needs to find that break in his or her lives at some point, and I’m grateful to have found it during my time here.
So, it’s no secret as to what I did this past Sunday, or what I’ll be doing next Sunday afternoon. There were football games for the watching, and there still will be three weeks from now.
A Sunday afternoon at Vassar means a comfy chair, tasty snacks and some good company to make it all worth something. In the end, there’s really nothing better.