Are You Ready For Some Football?

Sundays are very important days in our house. For these are days of football. Mondays are important, too. Because: Monday night football. And then there are the other days of the week. Many of them also include football. I don’t know why and I don’t ask. Because when I do, the answer is: football needs no reason.

For most of my life, I am able to pretty much ignore that football exists. During football months, even after I give birth to three testosterone-laden humans, I spend the football hours doing things far more interesting. Anything, actually, that doesn’t include a spherical brown ball. I have lots of interests.

My first two sons are huge football fans. They love to watch it. They like to play it with their friends in the yard. But when it comes to suiting up in pads and a helmet and heading onto the field, they choose to just say no. They don’t want to get knocked down. I like to think they are sophisticated in their athletic pursuits. They tend to think they are too skinny.

And then there is my baby boy.

When he was born, God answered my request for a girl. He answered it with the most boy of boys. Because my God is a sarcastic God. Sometimes, I think I can hear him laughing.

My third son was born moving. He is moving still. He has little time for worldly things. Showering. Sitting. Stopping. Washing his face. Eating with his mouth closed. Keeping track of his possessions. He, of any one I have ever met, is most in need of a personal assistant. Last week, he came home without shoes; he did not realize he wasn’t wearing them. Last year, he lost 15 sweatshirts in a little over 15 days. And two bicycles. He is my own little Tasmanian Devil.

When my youngest boy turns 12, he tells me he is going to play football. He doesn’t ask. When he was 9, he asked. And 10. Also 11. Now, he is telling.

I do not respond to his newest pursuit. I don’t like to say no to my children. Instead, I like to show it. With well-honed passive-aggressive behavior. I am not proud of it. But I am so good at it. It is a skill worked on my entire life, and mastered during my long non-football-watching career. It is not pretty.

During the time between his initial signing and his first game, my youngest son sets out to transform himself. He lifts weights. Runs sprints. Doubles his caloric intake. Attends three hour practices five days each week. I explain to him that he can’t get bigger muscles until he hits puberty. It is simply not possible. We both learn that this is a lie.

So, the first game rolls around. And I don’t want to go. Because, ugh, football. Concussions. Brain health. Group think. And also, the really bad stuff.

My son wants me to go. Because, mom, football!

And so, we remain in this standoff. For awhile. Finally, and with great effort, I think. About my blog editor. And what he would do.

My blog editor is not someone who enjoys sitting still. At all. Or reading mushy stuff. Or commenting on it. My blog editor is someone who likes to move. And sprint. And lift weights. And play football.

My blog editor is someone who reads my blog because he knows how much it means to me. And because I ask him. He isn’t much of an editor, actually. He is more of a complimenter. That is what keeps him on the payroll. Although I don’t actually pay him.

The game begins and I am there. In the back row. Still feeling fairly passive aggressive. I search the field for my boy. I ask his dad to point him out.

“He’s the guy on the line,” he says. “The one whose job is to tackle the other guys.”

At this moment, number 62 looks up at me. He nods. A few times. And I wave back like a crazy football mom. Well, not really, but that is what I am feeling. And I am thinking if I had a cow bell I would be ringing it. (But also probably not really.) I laugh and smile at him. I am happy to support him. Because he is happy to be a football player.

The game starts and he knocks over another kid. In my mind, I see him thrust his fists down by his side and let out a primal scream. I don’t know if this really happened.

I do not like football.

But as long as my third son chooses to play it, I will be there to watch it. And support him. And cheer for him. That is what he would do for me. If writing was a full contact sport.

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