I said “NO” to John Madden Football

Dear John Madden Football,

First of all, I assure you I am a mostly sane person. I am not ill… aliens have not taken over my body. I am not suffering from a head injury. I am not experimenting with legal or illegal drugs. And I am not experiencing a mid-life crisis (or any other type of crisis).

Second of all, I love you John Madden Football. Love, love, love you. Please never forget that. I think you are the greatest video game in the history of sports. I could play you for several hours every day and not get tired of you. Seriously, we have had many great times together. Do you remember when I threw a 99-yard touchdown pass with 1-second left to beat my best friend? I remember it… and so does he.

You’ve given me laughs. Joy. Hours and hours of awesomeness. Amazing memories.

But that is the problem.

The rules have changed. You see I am a graduate student now… studying healthcare and poverty in developing nations. In addition I am married. Time is a valuable commodity in my life right now. So when it came time to make a decision for a new video game to purchase… well… I just…

If I bring John Madden Football into my house… I will most likely flunk out of graduate school, never finish training for the 2013 Seattle Marathon, and I would not do a lot of other cool things I have on my bucket list.

So, this is hard to say… I purchased NBA Jam instead of you. It was a tough decision, but NBA Jam is also a great game that can fill the minutes … but without the commitment I feel with you. I’m not afraid of commitment… it’s just complicated right now, especially with you. I’m sorry you found out like this… but NBA Jam arrived Monday morning. Our first date is scheduled for this Friday. With NBA Jam, I won’t feel the pressure to commit hours every day. I need time for me, time for my wife, time for school. Dearest John Madden Football, I hope you understand. I’m trying to change the world… but if you were in the house could I read five words out of Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains”? Of course not. It’s not you… it’s me.

Keep your head up high. I am sure you will find someone else to spend your days with. And sincerely, thank you for the memories. In my heart and mind you are and always will be the greatest sports video game of all time… but I think goodbye is for the best.

Best Wishes,

Ish Ism

P.S. — When I finish the dissertation for my PhD… don’t call me.

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