Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Zen of Football
Okay, so I've now gone to two of Bar Mitzvahzilla's Freshman high school football games. This hasn't been without some great effort. Being a bit football challenged, just showing up took a lot of resolve. I knew that good moms go to their kid's games. So I had to go. That was that. No matter that each of the games have been away games, and I mean away - like the first one thirty miles north and the second one thirty miles south. And no matter that I soon learned a cruel fact of being the visiting team: our stands invariably face west into the setting sun in the 100 degree Arizona heat. But it's football, right? Suffering's part of the game.
So far our team lost one game and won another. Yesterday I found myself actually enjoying myself, sitting next to Husband and jumping up and down with all the other lunatic parents. The only thing I can't stand is Husband's preachy philosophizing about the game: what plays the coach should have played, what plays he might play, all the possibilities in the world, apparently, that have to be muttered into anyone's ear nearby. Considering that and the guy yelling "'Go Birds" intermittently, I think ear plugs could make this really good.
By the end of the two games Husband was muttering about something else: Bar Mitzvahzilla hadn't played. Today after practice he told me he doesn't expect to. Husband hit the roof but I chose to look at it in a more Zen-like manner.
When I was watching the game yesterday I forgot that my son hadn't actually been on the field because it seemed to me that just being a part of a team was something too - that his team playing was him playing. There were about four injuries during the overall game, moments during which both sides got down wordlessly on one knee and they and the spectators all showed respect for the injured player by clapping as he was taken off the field. Where would Bar Mitzvahzilla have gotten that experience, exactly, if not for football? That kind of reverence, of control, of understanding that sometimes you're a part of something bigger than just yourself. These are lessons I didn't learn till I was forty - that sometimes you just have to do a whole bunch of work and never know if there will be a payoff. That the work itself has meaning.
Also, football's brought some unexpected benefits. There's the fact that he got to start high school knowing a lot of kids, and coming from private school that was a big deal. There's the fourteen pounds of pure muscle he's packed on his frame. There's the fact that on game day he gets to strut around campus in his jersey. And, not least of all, he gets to look up from his position - yes, right now his position seems to be standing and not playing - and see two parents and a sister who love him enough to schlep all over the planet to show support for his team and his endeavor. And sweat.
He can also see his mother who's learning, after nearly eighteen years of marriage to a football fanatic, to enjoy the game.
Do you ever feel like you should keep a list of all the things you did to show love to your kids that they don't appreciate? Giving out any sage advice to children lately? Football anyone?