(Note: Reprint of original post dated January 26, 2005.)
I have a confession to make. I had tears of joy when the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC Championship game last Sunday.
Truth is, before I met my childrens father, I ignored sports. I never played them and never watched them.
Our first date was to go to a nearby popular bar/resturant for dinner, to watch the Philadelphia Flyers on TV. I had no idea who the Flyers were or what ice hockey was. For our honeymoon, we went to the Meadowlands Arena in Toronto. Some time after that, he took me to a Flyers game, where I realized hockey guys have the cutest butts. I married a hockey fanatic, who dreamed of having a son who would play hockey. Thank heavens I delivered a bouncing, athletic boy who skated before he could walk and joined his first hockey team at age 5. His Dad, of course, was coach.
That led to baseball. During T-ball, I would read magazines until I learned it was considered blasphemy by the other parents to ignore your child. His Dad coached baseball too, so as “coach’s wife”, I had to set a good example.
While he coached soccer during my daughter’s soccer team years, he became my ex-husband, but we remained friends and got along well, which confused team parents so much that after awhile I stopped correcting them when they called me “coach’s wife”.
For years now I’ve been soccer mom, baseball mom and hockey mom, and then finally, this summer, I became football mom. I had just learned enough about baseball to enjoy watching it. And hockey too. I’m rather pleased I can keep up with the puck as it whizzes around. My son is a goalie and darned good at it. Watching the parents call out his name during games fills me with pride.
So this past Summer and Fall (2004 season) I learned about football. My son, and my new husband, taught me about “downs” and how to read the symbols on the scoreboard. Meanwhile my son’s Dad was the guy who videotaped every game. I watched as my 11 year old son, who is built like an armored tank, resisted the efforts of the older kids who were taller. His football team went on to the championship finals.
I bought a winter coat with his team colors and name on it. I learned how to help put on his pads, gear and helmut. I’d long since stopped wondering how they can stand to play in the mud. My son loves mud. I learned that when he was 4 years old, when I found him dancing in mud puddles during the pouring rain during his sister’s baseball game one year.
While turning his football gear in at the end of the football season in November, I walked up to the counter. Behind it stood about 6 men, some of whom I’d recognized as baseball coaches as well as football coaches. All I had to say was “Stefan” and they immediately knew whose gear it was. One man proceeded to tell everyone in the room the now famous story about when my son whacked the ball, during a close game, all the way out past the outfield, into the park where the squirrels live. Had parents and kids running all over trying to find the ball.
The man said, “Never seen anything like it in Little League. A kid hitting a ball like that.” Then he looked at me, smiled and shrugged, then said, “I was the baseball coach for the opposite team that day.” And, then they talked about the other times Stefan did the same thing. The first time was when he was 9 years old. People still come up to me to talk about how Stefan hit the ball way out past the ball field.
It doesn’t matter that I barely know anything about baseball. I have a son who does.
So, it was with great pride that I watched the entire NFL football championship playoff game last Sunday. Living just outside Philadelphia, I was rooting for the Eagles. For the first time in my life I could follow what was happening and could understand some of what the announcers were blabbing about. When Chad Lewis got his first touchdown, I watched every single repeat of that play, glued to the TV like a seasoned pro.
And now finally, after years of getting SO CLOSE to it, the Eagles football team will play the SuperBowl in Jacksonville, Florida.
I still don’t understand Lacrosse or Field Hockey rules, which my daughter now plays since “retiring” from soccer and baseball. She’s the type who wishes her parents weren’t on the sidelines watching. Makes her nervous.
But I have a son who is a “Leftie Pitcher”, Hocky “Goalie” and “Center” for football, and he looks for me at every game.
Before he was born, I was clueless about sports and couldn’t understand why grown men seemed to lose their minds and go to pieces over something “as silly as a game.” Now, let it be known, I’m bursting with excitement that my home city team is going on to the SuperBowl for the first time in almost 25 years.
You can bet I’ll be watching that game. With my son, the sports guy.
(For the Baseball part of my life, please see Why Are Baseball Pants in the Freezer?)
Kim at football practice, Fall 2005. With my friend, Julie, another football mom.