I live in a football house. This took some time to digest. But it was happening with or without me, so I decided to hop on board lest I be left behind.
It happened like this:
First, my son learned his numbers up to 99 from identifying players and re-creating plays in our living room. When he was two years old, he could name the majority of the Steelers’ offense and defense if we simply gave him a number (this was our go-to party entertainment for a while).
Football was always on my boy’s mind–passing a sign for an interstate, we would hear our little Noah announce, “Hey, that’s Chris Kimowota’s number!” Not enough for you? For at least a year, Noah ONLY wore “number shirts,” preferably jerseys, but we could compromise any shirt with a number if he needed to get dressed up.
A small sampling out of oh, I don’t know. A million sounds right:
I will admit: we had a few clothing battles.
Thankfully, that is behind us, but not before his zeal for football rubbed off on me a bit.
In the midst of pre-season football, a time of year that before I had a son, was marked primarily by my anticipation of radiant glowing mountainsides, the smell of apple crisp baking in the oven, and the comfort of cowl-neck sweaters, I’m now a little bit excited for the crash of helmet-on-helmet contact, roaring crowds, and the chatter of game-night announcers (minus Cris Collinsworth whose voice makes my insides shudder–and not in a good way.)
Now, my little two-year old is a big boy, a six-year old kindergartener. And while he still likes to tackle anything willing to have a go at it, he is growing up, and I fear he’ll start to become aware of the football culture that infiltrates the media and, whether I like it or not, our house.
Maybe it’s the whistles blowing in our playroom, or my son perched on the edge of the couch in his Steelers’ training camp clothing or perhaps it’s Collinsworth’s inane gravely chortle. Whatever the reason, I’ve got football on the brain, and this mom is hoping I’ve got a few more years before I have to address these football lessons:
- Gloat first–deliver, um…never (i.e. The Eagles circa lately or that Flacco quarterback–no. no. no.)
- Dance when you complete a task you’ve been paid to do (i.e. make a tackle). Although, I have to admit, while I am not paid to be a mother, I have been known to celebrate if a day goes off without a hitch. Maybe he’ll learn that one from me.
- Talk and talk and talk to fill air space. Repeat yourself. Contradict yourself. But for Pete’s sake, keep talking. Thank you, Cris Collinsworth (too much?).
- It’s a good idea to draw attention to your crotch (see number 2 and Aaron Rodger’s favorite move).
- It’s perfectly acceptable for scantily clad women to dance for you and get paid very little to do so. Oh, never mind, $50 per game seems fair. I mean, how much does a football player make?
- Professional football is a career goal. I don’t want to be a dream buster, but I think a back-up plan is wise, right? Although Noah’s current plan of “hanging out at home”–that’s really what he said–is not better. Apparently he is more attuned to the current state of things than I thought!
- Stomping on people is a tolerable release of pent up aggression (see Ndamukong Suh–I hope my son didn’t).
- Playing football makes heroes. Oh, I know there are some admirable men who play football, but it’s not football that makes a hero. I was a teacher, who made the mistake of asking her students to reflect on their heroes. I read pages and pages of litanies to sport “heroes” with a smattering to Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa.
- Showy is better. Read: wearing Bible verses on one’s face means you are more devout than those who choose not to wear the Bible. What about 1 Peter 3:3-4?
- That it’s okay to cheer for: The Texans, The Ravens, The Eagles, The Cowboys, The Broncos, The Cardinals, The 49ers, The Vikings, The Packers, The Redskins, The Jets, The Falcons, The Dolphins, The Bills, The Panthers, The Chargers, The Seahawks, The Colts, The Giants, The Raiders, The Bengals, The Lions, The Browns, The Saints, The Buccaneers (I’ll be honest, I didn’t know this was really a team), or The Patriots.
Okay, maybe I’m a victim of brainwashing. Nah!