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.