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  • I grew up watching football wtih my dad, even when we lived in Indonesia. 
  • I introduced my daughter to football when she was 2 months old but as she grew, she was interested. 
  • I missed spending time with her, and Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship helped us. 
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I remember watching my first football game as a kid. I was maybe 6 or 7, younger than my daughter is now. I was living with my family in Indonesia, on the other side of the world, from where I was born.

My dad loved the Michigan Wolverines so much that he’d get VHS tapes mailed 12,000 miles to watch football with his sons. I still remember hugging my dad and my brother and bouncing up and down in front of a little TV in Jakarta when Michigan won the Rose Bowl and a share of a national title.

Fast forward a couple of dozen football seasons, and now I’m a dad. A dad with a little girl who’s known football since she was 2 months old. But it’s Taylor Swift who got her into finally watching the Super Bowl with me.

She’s been around football her entire life

I remember taking my baby girl in my arms into the German pub in Seattle, where I watched all my football games. She was just 2 months old and was an 11 on the cuteness scale. Her first football game was staring, hiccuping, and crying when we all cheered for a score, but I wasn’t discouraged.

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Dad posing with baby in football gear

The author and his daughter wearing Seahawks jerseys.

Courtesy of the author



I took her to watch the Seahawks in a stroller. I sat with her as a 4-year-old while she gnawed on french fries and learned to say “touchdown.” But as she started to get older, unicorns and Taylor Swift dance parties started to beat out football for her.

She started spending most of her Sunday afternoons reading “Nancy Drew” in her room while I watched football downstairs with the dog.

I missed spending time together

I missed her. I missed the way she giggled as a 3-year-old and how she learned to say “RUSSAW WIWSON” from me before she could say her L’s properly. But the magic seemed to be gone, and I resigned myself to a world where I wouldn’t have those dad-kid experiences that had shaped me so much as a child.

When she told me, “Football isn’t really my thing, Dad,” I knew in my heart she was right. And that would have been OK. We could always bond over dancing to “Shake it Off” and constant album replays of “Midnights.”

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That was before news broke this fall that Taylor Swift was dating Travis Kelce, who is (as my daughter discovered) an actually good football player. She may have grown up listening to Swift’s breakup songs, but my 8-year-old was as ready as any Swiftie in the country to ship her newest relationship.

It took her some time to get into football

Loving Taylor didn’t immediately turn into loving football. It took my daughter a few weeks to notice. I think, at first, she thought Taylor was just taking a break from the Eras tour. Maybe the Kelce thing would turn into a devastating breakup. Maybe Taylor had a “Blank Space” for Travis.

But Taylor stayed with Travis, and as the rainy days of November turned into the (more) rainy days of December in Seattle, my 8-year-old slowly realized that her biggest idol was making time away from the Eras tour every single Sunday to watch three and a half hours of Chiefs football. In person. Where the cameras could find her between plays.

Suddenly, Sundays were different at our house. “Nancy Drew” was forgotten — temporarily — upstairs. Now, we spend hours together hanging out on the couch every Sunday. She’s asking about the playoffs. She understands first downs, and (of course) she’s waiting for Taylor to appear.

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Like “Snow on the Beach,” discovering we can watch football together feels fragile and magical. Fathers and sons and football are as old as the sport. But not dads and daughters. It took Taylor Swift to bring us “Out of the Woods.”

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