Monday, 27 September 2004

was it more than a "game" for #42 ?

this morning i had the opportunity to revisit a time in my life that i've decided was best kept locked away in my closet of skeletons .. filled with those memories that need to be examined carefully ...

and this is the head noise that resulted ~
i really got into football when my son played varsity in highschool .. i learned more about the game, the positions .. the plays .. the dedication .. the hard work .. the effort that it takes in highschool football maintaining a respectable grade average while practicing the game 5 hours a night .. .. but then i went and learned about the politics and then i learned about the way that some young mens already fragile self esteem is tied directly to the outcome of the "game"
thankfully his dad moved and my son was back in our hometown for my son's senior year in high school .. my daughter and i made an effort not to miss a single game .. we'd make signs to hold up during the game .. hearing people yell my son's name during the game when he finally got ahold of the ball .. seeing his name mentioned in the local newspapers .. he even managing to grab a few seconds being highlighted on the local news broadcast .. making an effort to be sure he was on time for all the weekly team dinners .. running down to the school a few nights a week to watch him practice 5 hours a night during the week .. holidays included .. i figured if he couldn't sit and have thanksgiving dinner with us the least we could do was to watch him practice his beloved game

it was the best of times .. it was the worst of times
and then one special young man fumbled the ball on the 2 yard line during the last few seconds of a game .. his team lost by 2 points .. it was an important game, homecoming .. and instead of having the time of his life at his senior homecoming, my son walked slowly off the field, head hung low .. refusing to make eye contact with his mom .. his heart breaking for letting his school down, letting his team down, letting his friends down .. yea ok, the game before he made 5 touchdowns but all that seemed to have been forgotten

i treasure the newspaper articles .. the videos of the news broadcasts .. his "Go Spartans ~ 2002 Homecoming"cup, filled with little candies, made by the school cheerleaders for each member of the team .. after the game i followed my son out to mid-field .. there was no way i was going to let him slink away in shame and self-doubt .. he handed me his cup asking me "Mom, will you keep this for me" .. and i have ..
i haven't watched a game of football since and that was nearly 2 years ago .. i figure one day he'll speak again of his highschool football career and he'll remember the entire 4 years instead of the last 4 seconds .. and maybe .. just maybe .. we'll sit down and watch a football game together again
and when he's laughing, when i know in my heart that he's let his heartbreak go .. just for kicks i'm going to bring out his homecoming cup and politely ask him if he wants a piece of candy .. and if he laughs at the sight of his momma bringing out some stale years old candy for a half-time treat, i'll know i can let go of my own heartbreak

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