It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. My dear friend Beautiful Mess wrote me this about her son playing football. It reminded me of former Redskins great John Riggins putting on his old uniform years after retirement and then running on to the field before an NFL game. They asked him why he did it. He said because he missed that feeling and wanted to experience the crowd cheering for him. It's what he lived for.
I need to talk about a sport. When I first got my son into football he was in third grade. I stressed so many things about football that I wanted him to experience. I pushed camaraderie, passion, how he would never work so hard, how it would teach him to be a man. How he would make friends with people he wouldn't normally be friends with in school, how they would have each others backs regardless of where they are and what they're doing.
From the get-go, he cried after his last game. Every single time. I would have a winning team, yet a pile of sobbing little boys and parents wondering what the hell was wrong. No one got it when I said, "it's their last game."
Last night they played in pink for breast cancer awareness. They lost. The boys came walking back and low and behold, there's my gigantic man-child crying his eyes out. Of course, when he saw me, he cried more. His dad was like wtf? I said, "Last game, dad..." My friend was like wtf? "last game, ..."
So I walked arm and arm with my son back to the car. I praised him and how well he's done and how much he's gone through in the last few years. He cried and cried. I got a glimpse of our shadow as we were walking. Suddenly instead of carrying my little boy off the field, I was walking arm in arm with a man much bigger than me, but crying just like he did each year. It was surreal. I will never regret my decision to live as though football IS life. I love that he loves it so much.
He didn't say a word on the way home. I sent his soggy butt to the shower. He came out refreshed. We never mentioned it again.
Football IS life.
Someday in the future that kid will be walking his kid back to the car, and thinking how great it is to watch his kid love something. Beautiful Mess done good.
By the way, I don't talk sports with chicks.