Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Unlikely Fan

When I was little, my senior-in-high-school cousin broke his neck playing football, and came home to our house in a body cast. And I wondered, at the ripe old age of seven, WHO in their right mind actually DOES this? Glories in beating each other senseless? The answer never came.

So. I have never been to a football game where someone else didn't pay my admission. And even then, I always take a book. There are no Superbowl parties at our house. We host Oscar parties. In our home theater. Yeah, I live in that world.

So, you can imagine how long it took me to shrug off the disbelief when Mr. Cool said he wanted to sign up for football. Tackle football. In a league for kids. Complete with helmets and pads. And bullies. And it only costs, what? A whopping $300? I did my best to talk him out of it. But he was relentless. And we believe in giving our kids opportunities. Even ones we're not crazy about. So I drove to some sports store across town that I SWEAR I never even knew existed, and waited in line to sign him up. I looked around at the other families signing their kids up to ravage each other. Holy NASCAR! There was not a lot of refinement in this crowd. I was ready to walk out on the whole thing. Then I saw another mother that I know and trust, dutifully signing up her very bright, well-rounded son. And I regained my confidence. Wrote the checks. Sucked it up. Did not say ONE WORD to the little guy about how I REALLY feel about football.

And now, two-and-a-half months later, I am both changed and grateful. Start with his coaches—fathers who donate five nights a week to helping these boys succeed. Who praise and encourage and ENJOY them rather than berating them. (And they're currently undefeated!) I see my little Number Eleven down there on the field sacking the quarterback. Sometimes I have to remind him not to tackle ME! And now I'm the one in the stands cheering and shouting, "Get him! GET HIM!" I'm somewhat amused that I'm the mom who never misses a game. (Even though I still read my book during half-time). I may not be crazy about football. But when it comes to Mr. Cool, I am a total fan! My fierce love for him is what keeps me in the stands. Keeps me chauffeuring to practices and games. Keeps me cheering him on. Keeps me doing all the other Mom-things I do, that will continue long after the championship game is over...

...and well into the eternities.

Go, Team!

20 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I think I will end up being a football mom. I've always enjoyed it!

Lara said...

I grew up in a football household, so I adore the sport. (Not playing myself, mind you.)

Sounds like a lot of fun with your son! I wish I had a son to play football. Maybe someday. :)

Barbaloot said...

It's a lo easier to enjoy spectating when someone you know and love is participating:)

Sandy M. said...

You had me until the last line...
Football in the eternities too!!! Then I read back again and realized that (I'm hoping) - it's the love for your son that will continue - not necessarily football. Whew! :)
Now I am with you completely! I've watched soccer, football, gymnastics, netball, b'ball, volleyball, tennis - even cricket(!) when the children have played. I still don't understand the rules (I'm not slow, just not that interested :) - but I am the most cheerful and enthusiatic cheer-person there!

It's especially fun for the whole family group to wave and yell out from the sidelines: "Go Bethy/Abby/(whoever)!!" - and watch them go red and try not to laugh.

Or our favourite: to call out and cheer one of the twins by name whenever it is actually his brother that scored the goal :) Ben and Oliver just grin and roll their eyes, but it's funny to see everyone else look confused. Or compliment the wrong twin for a great game afterwards :)

So I guess that sport really is fun after all!
xo

Kazzy said...

Good for you, getting out of your comfort zone! I am a fan of the Oscars AND football. I actually really enjoy it and find it even artistic.

Go Mr. Cool! Rah rah rah

L.T. Elliot said...

This is EXACTLY how I feel about football. Lo and behold, my glorious lil' brother signs up and changes everything around. I still don't care for football but I cheered him on like mad.

DeNae said...

We love them, so we cheer them on. That's the only reason I end up in the stands or audience of most things!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I am living in dread of just scouting stuff let alone football and thanking my lucky stars that my LG is a bookish nerd. (Maybe it's a good thing he isn't in school where he can get tackled by the footballers.) I can totally see you cheering him on, though. you are fierce!

Melanie J said...

No one in my family was athletic growing up. Kenny dabbled a little in high school sports. James plays very recreational tennis. I'm going to be very confused if any of my kids embraces playing sports whole heartedly. I'll just remember to bring a book. That makes everything better.

Terresa said...

There's a beauty in seeing a mother grow as she lets her children find their way, whether through football or, say, flying small airplanes. My husband did the latter beginning at age 16, and it never hit me from the mother-perspective until I became a mother myself. How much his mom trusted in her son, in God, and had faith in the entire endeavor.

That's one amazing mama. Just like you.

Kimberly said...

My feelings about football are so similar...I'm just sure one of our children will take it up to shake me out of my comfort zone.

I could take comfort in the fact I have girls, except my little sister played for her high school team...

Love the happy ending here. Mom is the ultimate fan!

InkMom said...

We're more basketball people in this neck of the woods.

My dad is a rabid UNC basketball fan . . . when my parents were attending school there, my dad walked all the way across campus with a sprained ankle to take my mom to a game. She brought a book. She was so touched that he would walk such a far distance, injured, just to take her out. What she didn't know was that he asked her because she was the one girl he happened to be dating at the time who lived next to the arena.

I still firmly believe that divine intervention is the only reason they ever got together permanently. Because here's the other thing -- my dad called the girl across the hall to ask her out. She wasn't in, so my mom answered her phone. 30 seconds later, my mom's phone rang, and it was the same guy. So she was second choice in the first place.

And then! Then -- he picked her up to take her to the party for their first date, and when they arrived, he already had another date there.

And I'm done with my tangent now. Since this has absolutely nothing to do with football.

Debbie said...

My oldest in now playing rugby in college. Rugby! I never thought I would see the day:)

Eowyn said...

I love to watch football. Play it? Not so much.

Grecko-Roman wrestling? Yeah, I fiercely cheered my brother on but I'm not sure I'd ever want my kids to do it.

Heather of the EO said...

Oh I love this. I have that same opinion of football, I just don't get it. But I know I'll love to watch either of my boys play if they ever choose to play.

(reminds me of my high school boyfriend too...how I knew NOTHING of the game, but LOVED watching him, ahhh, nostalgia) :)

MommyJ said...

THIS makes me feel better. I too have not had good opinions of football... and yet, my 8 year old talks about it like it is the end of all of all sports. He hasn't played yet... so far his organized sports career has only consisted of basketball (which I hope, upon all hope, that he will love more than football) but how can I say no when he wants to try something?

I had parents that bent over backwards so that I, at 9 years old, could learn how to ride horses. It was completely outside of their comfort zone, but it was MY passion and it went a long way to defining my character and building my confidence that the two people most important in my life supported me in my individual pursuits.

And I'll do the same for my kids... even if it means praying mightily for safety before each football game and of course, taking a book for halftime. :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

There's no fan like a Mom-fan. He's a lucky kid. :)

deb said...

Oh, I so hear you on this one, 20 years of being a fan in the stands to all of it, and I'd rather be reading. But I do think I've learned a thing or two about life, my children, and myself. And I'd do it all over again in a minute. Wait, I'm not done...

Mrs4444 said...

That's a really sweet post. I miss your blog :)

Luisa Perkins said...

You? Are a good mother.