I’ve never been a big sports fan. I’ve never been a star player. I don’t like watching sports on TV. I’m not the person to talk to about sports. Period. Having a son has forced me to make some changes. For one, whether I like it or not—and I don’t—my son includes me in one-sided conversations about plays, players, stats, the spelling of their names.
“Mom, tomorrow is Ronnie Brown’s birthday.”
“Who is Rodney Brown?” I ask. I don’t recall this kid from his class, but that’s nice that my son remembers.
“No, Ronnie Brown. He plays on the Eagles.”
“Mom, who do you think will be in the Super Bowl this year?”
“Hmm, haven’t a clue,” I say. So many questions all the time. He’s good at that. (You can read more about that here.)
My son demonstrates the play-by-play of a game, then rewinds in case I missed the best part. “No, but did you see this?” he says as he swoops in with the ball, leaps through the air, and rolls on the floor for the touchdown. “It was something like that.” I don’t even know what to say. Ever. Just mm-hmm or wow when it could be a wrestling move for all I know.
I never thought I would spend cold afternoons on our street throwing touchdown passes and yelling “Hike” as my son rushes toward the end zone. I can’t throw very far so I have to run behind him as he runs so I can make my pass. I’m working on my spiral though. I’m impressed I even know what one is.
We shopped for football gloves the other day. Gloves? I didn’t even know they made those for football. “What are those?” my son asked, pointing to the white plastic bicycle seat-looking contraptions hanging below the gloves.
“Those are cups,” I said, hoping the conversation would quickly shoot back to the gloves or a player or anything but those cups.
“Cups? For what?”
“For protection,” I said, trying to play it cool as I examined the rubbery gloves a lot longer than I should have. Please don’t ask if you drink out of them.
“For your head?”
“Ooooh!” His eyes lit up. He pointed between his legs. “Now I see why they’re all so big down there.” Forget the gloves. We quickly moved over to toys.
These conversations never happen to my husband in a public place.
As we rushed home so he could play football in the yard, he checked out his new football trading cards, reading all the stats to me in the car. “Mom, there is a Donovan McNabb card in here!” “Mom, Donovan McNabb’s birthday is the day after Thanksgiving.” “Mom, DeSean Jackson’s birthday was nine days ago.”
“Cool.” “Oh yeah?” “Wow.
He played outside with his dad for a few minutes and then ran back in. “Mom, did you see me make that touchdown?”
I’m not sure what part of our conversations suggests that I am a football maniac, but one thing is certain: My son is definitely in love.
6 responses to “Tales From the Gridiron”
This is a really endearing post. Growing up as a football player I gave my mom a lot of credit for always entertaining my questions and supporting me in a sport she knew little about. Looking back–it really meant a lot.
Thanks! It’s hard. I don’t want to come off as showing no interest, but there are certainly other things I’d rather be doing than talking football. Sometimes he coaches me on what I’m doing wrong. But regardless of what we’re doing, he wants me there and that’s what it’s all about.
My son is also in love with football and we spend many afternoons playing, kicking, and making touchdowns. I guess it’s the same as dads playing dolls with their daughters. It’s great bonding time.
In a million years, I never thought I would be a football fan. Then my daughter started college and joined the marching band (I went to the same college and didn’t know there was a band or a football team – it turns out it’s a pretty big deal). Now four years later, I even know who the NFL players are. My daughter graduates this year, but we’ll still get season tickets next year because it turns out going to a college football game on a crisp fall evening dressed in the school colors is a lot of fun.
You are getting an early start – you will probably be the ultimate football mom-expert (you already know birthdays)!
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