Mr. Irrelevant in My Own Home

We’re all in a state of purgatorial flux right now. Well, not all of us. Fans of the Broncos and Panthers have a particular interest in what happens on Sunday in sports’ biggest event.

For the rest of us, we’re forced to choose a side. It’s not a choice we like, since our favorite team isn’t one of these two teams, but it’s a choice we have made – either consciously or subconsciously – to give us something, or someone, to cheer for this weekend.

My daughter has made it clear that her favorite team is alive and well no matter what season it is. Her favorite team is Mom.

nfl_a_mr-irrelevant_mb_6001I am more like Mr. Irrelevant, the cutesy nickname given to the last pick in the NFL Draft; the last guy who hears his name called and hopes for nothing more than a spot on the practice squad.

Not only is my wife known as the favorite team, but she could also be considered Peyton Manning since she is the No. 1 pick (or Cam Newton, also a No. 1 pick). Oftentimes I feel a distant second to my wife within our house. This is not new information to anyone who has spent more than 30 minutes with us. So how does one choose?

Is it because my wife is a light sleeper and I am not, therefore any peep coming from our child’s room is immediately met by my wife? Is it because I travel for work and therefore I am not always around, relying on FaceTime to connect for a few moments, rather than face-to-face for entire evenings?

Is it because she is a female and has a stronger connection to my wife?

I don’t know. Maybe my 40-yard dash time is considerably slower and I dropped to the sixth round..

Or, maybe it’s just like choosing whoever is around you and going with the best choice.

It’s what is facing football fans of all the other teams right now.

Do you really want to root for the Broncos and an iconic quarterback’s last shot at glory? Or the best team in football in 2015 and a flashy quarterback who, at times, is so good it’s like he’s in a video game?(Quick tangent: Cam Newton is being portrayed as the NFL’s version of LeBron James, who for some reason is the most polarizing figure in sports. Seriously, we should celebrate LeBron … he could be the greatest athlete of the past 50 years. I don’t get how people are upset with Cam. Don’t be a hater.)

Similar to what my daughter has to choose from. It may not be ideal since we can’t be Kanye and Kim as parents and she is born into immediate wealth and fame and we would just buy her an island for her upcoming third birthday, but between my wife and I, it’s the field she has.

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#ManningFace

It’s not like there is a clear-cut team to choose heading into the Super Bowl. No favorite or “America’s Team” that the networks circle the wagons behind. In fact, this Super Bowl doesn’t seem to be about either team – but about the two quarterbacks.

Do you choose the legend? Or the next legend? Going out on top? Or passing the torch?

Other than gambling, how do we maintain attention as the biggest sporting event of the year draws near? About a decade ago, as a Los Angeles resident, I chose a team to root for and that has not turned out very well.

Thanks a lot, Bengals, for making my fall and winter Sundays miserable.

So, even when you do get a chance to choose, it’s not always the best choice. Do I regret my choice? No. The same way my daughter doesn’t regret choosing mom over me.

I’m not a crappy father – I know this. In fact, I’m actually a really good father. And as much as I think I have control over her (I could definitely beat her in an arm wrestling contest) it’s not really up to me.

In fact, she’s the one in control. She’s the one who decides who she wants to spend time with. Laugh with. Cry with. Sing to. Play with.

I’m usually the one who just sits and is halfway available. Wishing I was always tapped to read the book or paint. Yet secretly happy I am able to cruise Instagram a few extra meaningless minutes per day … because, honestly, that’s what makes life worth living, when you go from all of the names of people who like your photos to an actual number!

So how do we choose?

Actually, we don’t. We get chosen.

Someone touched Peyton Manning when he was born and said they had big things in mind for him. Someone put together the right amount of DNA to make my daughter who she is. Certain things clicked into place along the way and the choice is no longer a choice anymore, it’s a way of living.

We don’t get to choose.

These two teams in the Super Bowl are decided and we don’t get to choose. We don’t even get to choose the winner. All we have control over is which team we want to win. Same way I want my daughter to always choose me. In reality, we can want all kinds of things and just have to be satisfied with what we get – and most often it’s not what we want.

Paraphrasing the classic movie, “Bull Durham,” Susan Sarandon said, “nobody on this planet ever really chooses … it’s all a question of … timing.”

And here is the timing. It is my wife waking at 2:30 in the morning to cover a sniffling child. It’s the timing of a business trip. It’s the time when fans of 30 other teams morph into half-fans just to remain interested and have water cooler chatter. It’s the timing of a child entering your world and the timing of what you’re able to engage in.

So, how do we choose?

Essentially, we don’t. We are given limited options and decide the path of least resistance.

Which, in this case, is sleeping as much as possible. And the Broncos.

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