Allow me to paint you a picture. Picture the azure skies of Texas. Now, imagine that color, a shade of blue so inviting, taking form in the jerseys of a football team—the Houston Oilers. This is a world where Warren Moon’s name lights up hearts, and the electric slide paints the town red. Yet, it’s a world that’s ceased to exist, much like a beautiful melody drowned out by the cacophony of time.

For those of us who bled Oilers’ blue, we’re left with a mosaic of memories, more bitter than sweet, like biting into a donut only to find it filled with sour cream. Heartbreaking? Certainly.

Remember the John Elway-induced heartaches, each one landing like a sucker punch when you least expect it? Or the grand meltdown against the Buffalo Bills, that was like witnessing the magnificent Titanic sink in real-time? The ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory was, regretfully, our signature style, like a stamp on a letter, marking our identity.

And yet, this underdog allure had a strange pull, much like how a mysterious novel keeps you awake at night, urging you to turn just one more page.

In the drama of football allegiances, there was a time my heart was torn equally between the Oilers and the Cowboys. Picture the scene: 1993, a year when America Online was all the rage and ‘Friends’ was a fresh hit on TV. My high school life was a blend of academics and Oilers-Cowboys debates with my best friend, Jerry Ruiz. Jerry, with his dismissive remarks about the Oilers, was like an art critic dismissing Picasso’s Blue Period.
And that was the breaking point! (Imagine me, fists clenched, a cinematic swell of music in the background.)

A solemn oath was made: to turn my back on those Super Bowl winning Cowboys, and champion the cause of my Oilers, much like a loyal knight swearing fealty to his king.

Yes, I admit, this story might seem both humorous and slightly tragic, as if watching a Shakespearean comedy through a modern lens.

As years trickled by, like sand slipping through fingers, my steadfast vow began to soften. Today, I find myself having a grudging truce with the Cowboys—a change as unsettling as a sudden shift in a melody you’ve known by heart. The thrill of the NFL still gives me an adrenaline rush, yet it feels like the echo of a song whose lead singer has moved on.

Adding a twist to this already convoluted tale are whispers that suggest I have a soft spot for the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins! Pure rumors, of course, but from sources as reliable as a Swiss watch.

And yet, such is the nature of life, and football. It’s only a game, right? This perspective is essential to grasp, like the last handhold on a treacherous climb—especially if you’ve ever found yourself cheering for the Oilers. Because, in the grand scheme of things—life, much like sports—is a blend of highs and lows—a ride we’re all on—for better or worse.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.