My challenge this month is to learn the game of football. Although I cant imagine that I will ever be convinced that watching men in tight pants move a few inches across the field every hour could ever get my adrenaline pumped, I am ready to give it my best shot.
For two weeks I have sat on the sidelines during Thumper’s football practices listening intently to his coach in an attempt to get some meaning out of the game. I have been very impressed in the way that he and the other volunteer coaches have been proficient in training these wiry adolescents.
With each day the sounds of calm, nurturing coaching progressively becomes more testosterone injected. I always knew that football was a violent sport but hearing that hitting is the essence of the game has filled me with trepidation and fear. “What’s the object of football?” Matt asks, “Hitting,” the kids yelled back. “I didn’t hear you,” he returns, “HITTING,” they yell out louder and fiercer. Say it louder next time, he yells back. YES COACH!!! they reply unison. I felt queasy and considered it ironic that I had been teaching my sons all these years that hitting is not okay.
The energy was fantastic at the first game where cued up music and hilarious quotes from great movies like Dirty Harry and Austin Powers were broadcasted. I started to think that maybe football wasnt so bad after all.
As I watched their first game my fears were both dispelled and confounded. There was my tall, skinny, fidgety almost ten year old playing an actual game of football and getting pummeled by giants twice his weight on the opposing team and I couldnt run up to the field to make sure he was ok.
It was a relief to find that there were a handful of other moms whose ignorance of the game was as great as mine. Go Defense, my new friend yelled from the bleachers. I was impressed that she knew what to yell until she looked at her boyfriend and asked with blushing cheeks if she had yelled out correctly. Were all in this together I assured her.
Since football began I have learned that Thumper is far more capable of focusing than I ever believed. His entire constitution has changed. Instead of watching television on Saturday mornings he gets up and opens his homework for he knows that if he does not complete it he will not play in the Sunday game.
I am so happy for him that he has found a sport that is helping him to mature but it is hard for me as a mother to accept that as my sons grow they will be taking on more dangerous sports that defy all my nurturing instincts. I guess I am the one who needs to change and accept that I have to let go a little.
The more I educate myself the more it is likely that I will become a football mom shouting and dancing from the bleachers at her kid on the field. I guess that alternative is better than remaining quiet and ignorant forever. Go Longhorns!
***skip to 6 years later and I am noooo better than I was.