Tag Archives: Football

How My Husband Raised an Eagles Fan Born in the South

Growing up, I knew no other team than the Redskins. In fact, for a long time I thought they must play the Blueskins, the Grayskins, the Greenskins. I heard a lot of words I shouldn’t have heard and I learned to stay away from the den on Sunday afternoons. There was always a lot of screaming and cheering and the beating of hands on my dad’s old recliner.

If I had a favorite team, the Redskins was it. It was all I ever knew.

My dad walked me down the aisle only because I didn’t marry a Cowboys fan. My husband-to-be rooted for the Eagles, a true born-and-bred fan from Philly who watched the team lose its only Super Bowl appearance at that point in 1981.

When we had our son in North Carolina in 2003 and Eagles onesies started rolling in, I told my husband it was just possible our son could be a Panthers fan. I wanted to plant that seed early. I didn’t want him to get his hopes up.

Through those early years, my son changed favorite teams as often as he changed his favorite color. He liked the Buccaneers, the Titans, the Jaguars, and the Vikings. He liked nearly every team but the Eagles. He’d get excited about football on Sunday afternoons. His dad put game gear on—the same shirt and socks with holes in each foot—and pumped up spirits with “E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!” My son seemed excited about the prospect of watching football, watching TV. But ten minutes in, he climbed off the couch and found something else to do.

More than anything, my husband just wanted my son to watch football with him. “Be careful what you wish for,” I told him.

My husband told my son stories of staying up late watching Eagles football when he was a kid. He told him about crying when the Eagles lost the Super Bowl. He was in third grade at the time. He told him stories about the infamous crowd and how they were known for booing Santa one year.

It wasn’t until around second grade that my son started to pay attention to football. Each year he’d watch the games a bit longer, snuggled into his dad’s arm. Every whistle blown, every flag thrown, my son asked why. Every player down, every player on the bench, my son asked why. Every player’s name, every player’s stats, my son wanted to know how was that spelled again and where is he from? How much does he weigh? What team did he play on before this one?

I’d chuckle in the corner as my husband tried to watch the game and hear the commentators and refs.

During every halftime, every commercial if he had it his way, my son grabbed a football and asked his dad to go outside. He had to play his own version of a game.

The next morning, the first thing my son would ask was the score from the late game. In the car he’d ask me how to spell a player’s name or who I thought would make it to the playoffs. Did I know it was Ronnie Brown’s birthday? My husband had created a monster.

Over time my son began to favor the Eagles, wearing the jersey his grandparents gave him to school every Monday after they played, talking trash with the other kids about their favorite teams.

Now after school, I’m the fill-in for Dad. I can throw a pretty long spiral and it’s only taken two years to get there. My son is a pretty tough coach.

He mentioned the other day that he dreamed the Eagles won the Super Bowl. He keeps up with their stats and thinks they have a good shot at the playoffs this year. Nick Foles is doing pretty well.

He still watches every game on Sunday with his dad. He still asks a million questions. He still knows everyone’s name. Now he keeps an Eagles roster. And he still goes outside to throw the ball around with his dad during breaks. He wears his lucky Eagles jersey, shorts, socks, and underwear when they play. It’s been working, knock wood.

My husband didn’t create a monster. He created a fan. And a bond.

football

Down here, my son gets questioned a lot about why he is an Eagles fan. The answer is always “because of my dad.”

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Filed under Fatherhood, Uncategorized

Tales From the Gridiron

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.”

Of course.

“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?”

“No.”

“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.

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Filed under Boy Stories, Everyday Life