This morning I would like to send out a big message of congratulations to… ME! You ask, why? Hmm, where do I begin? Many years ago when I was a child, I remember one evening while sitting at the dinner table, Dad said to all of us that we needed to be up and dressed and at the front door by 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. Of course, all of us asked why and he said that it was a surprise. Several days went by and not a peep from Mom or Dad about this secret excursion. Saturday arrived and into the car we piled. As we drove off, I asked again, “Dad, where are we going?” His response was that we are on a Forced Family Fun trip. That was the day that our family adopted the three F’s. We have since incorporated these letters for all kinds of family fun.

In 1996, I decided to start a family football pool called…you guessed it….Forced Family Football. It started with 5 teams, my three brothers and their spouses, my Mom and Dad and myself. After 16 years of craziness we are now up to 12 teams all within the family and including many of the grandkids. This year I was in last place throughout the whole season, and made my move up the leader board like a fast thoroughbred horse coming down the stretch in the playoffs. In our Lewis Family Forced Family Football, this can be done. One can come from way behind or in the middle and win in the final stretch. In the end, this season, I won it all. Congratulatory messages came by text and phone from family located across this country. Long distance communication has been the medium of communication in this pool. We began entering our “picks” by phone and fax, graduated to Email and Text and today we have incorporated an internet site where all the entries are posted after game time and the results posted after the game is over. Word of my victory was sent out by text to all the family just moments after the Super Bowl game ended. Messages from family members started coming in soon thereafter.

Thinking back now, I can’t believe it has been 16 years since I decided to do something that I never dreamed would last. This football pool has kept our family laughing and competing from August to February each year. It is amazing to watch the competitive spirits of all these Lewis family members jockeying for position before the playoffs start. The system that we have devised is one where you ufabet เข้าสู่ระบบเว็บตรง are never out of the race. Each week you pick the teams that you think will win and after 16 weeks of the regular season we tally them up to begin the playoffs. My brother Del has devised a brilliant playoff system that incorporates a slight advantage to whomever had the most wins in the regular season.

Winning the famed Forced Family Football trophy this year is a great honor, but it pails in comparison to what it has done for our family togetherness. What started out as a secret road trip by Mom and Dad back in the 70’s has now turned into an incredible family game that brings out all of our loving competitiveness. The message here is not about a football pool or winning, its about family and love. I understand that each family is different, but I dare say that love is universal. I encourage everyone to reach out to members of your family or close friends or loved ones and start something. If not football, maybe a recipe exchange or a coupon swap. There are so many things that we can do that will cement ever lasting memories. Step up and step out and organize something that can be carried on for years to come. I promise you will be glad you did. The choice is within.

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