This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill where our prompt this week was to use an ordinal number, i.e. first, second, third and so on.
Football is Life
My son plays football for the junior high school league, meaning that he can move up to the high school team when he starts next year if he so chooses. He loves it and it is so amazing to see him so passionate about something. A few weeks ago, he had been sick when I dropped him off at his Dad’s and I texted him Friday night to see if he was going to play in the game the next morning. His response, “I’m going to have to play.” Being the concerned and loving parent, I asked him, “Why do you have to play, buddy?”
“Football is life, Mom!” That’s the answer I got back and I laughed out loud.
I don’t think it was the same game, because the past month or two, days have blurred one into the next, but it was a Saturday morning, their third game, I believe. The boys were pumped and ready to play. They were coming off of a win the week before and were ready to take on a team that had beat them pretty badly in their only pre-season game.
During the first quarter, our boys had the other team contained. We weren’t doing a whole lot more than they were on offense, but our defense was solid. We were holding them, our boys were pumped and it was showing in how they were playing. By the second quarter, the other team had been called for at least three personal fouls, there was a lot of talk on the sidelines about “dirty” playing by the other team and you could really see it taking a toll on our boys. I can’t tell you how many times one of our boys rose up slowly off the ground and limped to the sidelines, only to go back in a few plays later. By the second quarter, the other team was also starting to score, but we weren’t. I think they were doing their best just to hang on.
I don’t know what the coaches said during half time. I know one parent went to a league official and complained about the other team and their tactics. Their was almost a fight between parents on our sideline and parents from the other. It’s crazy how much parents can get into this whole football thing. Any sport really. I wish sports was more about the journey for the players and less about the final score. But, apparently, for that other team, that final score was all that mattered and they were determined to be on top, no matter what it took.
The third quarter started and our sideline was supportive, giving our boys much needed good jobs and “Go Grizzlies!” I honestly believe our boys played one of the best games they’ve played on that day. They kept their heads up under what seemed a merciless onslaught. Now, I like football. I watch football. I can tell you certain penalties and I could explain the game pretty solidly for anyone whose never watched it before. But I don’t know the ins and outs of what happens in the middle of the game, on the line and between the players. I couldn’t tell you what a dirty play is – only that I don’t think boys of this age need to be making personal fouls at the rate the other team was getting them against our boys. The third quarter was more of the same, our boys just barely hanging on and the other team laughing and joking and catcalling our boys.
By the fourth quarter, I just wanted it to end. Perhaps a mother can understand what I’m about to admit, but I actually cried at one point. There was no reason for our boys to be hurt as much as they were and to have the looks in their eyes that they did. I can’t even imagine what they went through on the field that day. I can’t even tell you we pulled it out and won, because they didn’t. But what I can say is how terribly proud I was that day. They each went back into that game and gave it everything they had and fought to the bitter end. The score could have been outrageous, but as it was, they only beat us by two scores.
I love that my son has passion for the game. After the game ended, he patted guys on the pads and said “good game” and walked around being an overall boost to them. Or, at least, that’s what I saw him doing. It was probably the most natural thing for him because he is truly a loving person and I think he felt what happened on a deeper level than most.