Cool autumn air brings back football memories for many seniors (as may hot late summer air or even the cold of winter). It also provides opportunities for families to use football to create new memories with older loved ones.
Sure, there are more important things in life than sports and lots of other ways memories are made, but football just seems to be one of those things that so many families share. Whether it’s a way to show school spirit, spend Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon together in front of the TV or gather the family for a game in the yard, football has been a part of American’s lives for generations.
Recalling Seniors’ Football Memories
We talk often about helping senior loved ones keep their brains exercised and healthy by getting them to tell stories that relate memories from years past. So many have cherished memories tied to football that they love to recall — and sometimes don’t take much urging to do so. Think about the many ways football touches lives and creates memories we carry with us. Here are just a handful.
- The favorite local team – it may be a pro, college or high school team – has a big year that brings everyone together and creates excitement and moments that stick with even those who don’t typically follow the game.
- A family member plays for a local team, is a cheerleader or marches with the band and entire extended families gather to support and root for them. A highlight – or maybe a particularly embarrassing moment – becomes a family story shared for generations.
- Touch football in the backyard or at the park is a traditional activity enjoyed by the entire family at gatherings. How often are stories retold about the comical play (tackling Mom or even Grandma, for example) or the – ouch! – injury suffered by Dad or an uncle forgetting their bodies just aren’t capable of those moves from youth (been there, done that!)?
- A special experience attending a favorite team’s game. We’ve heard (and heard about) many seniors tell stories that center on attending a game at the home of their favorite college or pro team. Maybe it was ice cold and/or snowing, they encountered somebody famous or obnoxious (maybe both?) or something else happened to make the occasion particularly memorable. It might even have been an incredible play or incident that was part of the game itself.
Any of these situations and many more could be the source of stories senior loved ones love to retell and do so in detail that tests their memories and helps keep them sharp. Often all it takes is asking.
Creating New Football Memories – Even From a Distance
Seniors’ memorable events around football don’t have to be relegated to those things that happened in years past. New stories can be created and shared for years to come, with family members young and old taking away memories they will carry the rest of their lives.
Any of the items from the list above can be the source of magical moments, of course, but there are many ways even dispersed families can create new memories from a distance. These are some ideas we’ve encountered.
- Initiate a family “game of the week” to share on TV. Pick a game that everyone can get on TV at home – it could be a college team that means something to the family or a favored, or even hated, pro team – and “get together” as a family to watch it. You can gather by phone, with free long distance a reality for so many, by Skype (maybe even video), via social media or by text message and talk with each other almost as if in the same room. You might even find the enjoyment is heightened with team jerseys or other gear from your favorite teams.
- Tie distant grandparents and great grandparents into a younger family member’s football game vie phone or, better, video so they can share the experience. If that isn’t practical, share video and pictures after the fact so they can feel the experience themselves when you call to tell them about it.
- Create a family pool around each football week that lets everyone exercise their competitive juices in absence of the backyard game. Sites such as Yahoo and many of the sports networks make it easy by putting in place the format and administering everything, with families or other groups able to set up private pools so they are competing only among themselves. We don’t suggest any sort of illegal gambling, mind you, but you might decide to make the pool more interesting if more than family bragging rights are at stake — maybe some stakes that are both fun and meaningful within the family.
Provide Memory Sharing Opportunities
All these memories, both those from seniors’ younger years and those created now with family, will be enjoyed by each individual involved and those with whom the stories have been shared. One of the big benefits, though, is best achieved when members of the family are together, whether physically or via technology.
Just as the some of the best kinds of exercise for our bodies occur when we’re just having fun and don’t realize it’s a workout, some of the best brain workouts come when seniors regale us with stories from their past, especially when those stories involve another family member and a comical action. Well, at least it seems funny today!
Give senior loved ones encouragement (beg if must) to get them to share those stories from their past and the new memories created recently. Both will help them keep their minds sharp and pass those cherished memories forward for generations to come.
We’d love to hear how football has created memories in your family! Please share any stories and suggestions for the benefit of all.