I was traveling last week, so I didn't have the opportunity to acknowledge the kickoff of the 2008 pro football season.
Lifelong Chicago Bears fan here. I bleed blue and orange. My son's middle name is Payton (not the contemporarily fashionable "Peyton"), as in Walter Payton, one of my boyhood heroes (along with Jack Kirby and Paul McCartney). His middle name is just as much a tribute to the Sunday afternoons I used to spend with my dad, watching Walter do the impossible. "Walter left, Walter right, and Walter up the middle" were the three key plays back in those days. And we would just watch in awe.
Dad and I continued to watch Bears games week-in and week-out. If I wasn't at his house watching with him, we'd be calling one another after significant plays (multiple times a game!).
Both Walter and my dad are gone now, but I still watch every game. And after a great tackle or a Devin Hester TD, I still reach for the phone, or look to my left, expecting him to be there with me, watching the play and laughing along with me.
I miss you, Dad.