Wednesday, October 24, 2007
to football moms
One fine hot summer day in August of 1996 I did something that would become a ritual. I dressed my oldest son in his football gear, and took him to practice. It seemed like it was the hottest day of the year so far, and I failed to realize he would need a drink. Lucky for him we lived close to the field and my error was soon remedied.
I will never forget that day. I think of it every time football season starts, every time I put in pads for the inaugural practice, and boil the mouthpiece. How I struggled with the equiptment (and he was only playing flag that year), fought with the damn belt, and cursed my husband for not realizing before hand I would have no clue how to do this and taken care of it. Only 10 minutes late that day, not bad at all, of course we were minus a drink and the mouthpiece was too big. But we were there.
Without fail every August rolls around and I know it's coming. Tweleve years and it's never let me down, the first week of camp will be the hottest it's been all summer, and the stentch of the equipment when I finally get to wash it never stops shocking me. Only now, I am the mom who is always on time and always ready. I am the mom everyone asks for directions to away games, and I am the mom who warns of the danger of over boiling, and carries a spare mouthpiece in her car, because someone will always lose one 5 minutes before kick off.
I am a football mom. I cry when they lose and cheer the loudest when they win. I boo the refs when neccesary, and run along the sidelines if my kid has the ball. I brave a season that starts when I am still swimming and ends with a snowstorm. I will stand in a downpour sipping bad coffee, because if I don't, I won't be able to stand not knowing what is going on. The teams have changed, we have been Bulldogs, Vikings and Huskies, but my pride remains the same.
Last night my oldest informed me his tentatively scheduled game for next week was cancelled, and because of their stellar 3 and 5 record so far this season, the last game would indeed be Friday. As of right now he has no plans to play in college.
I looked at him and said "Just like that, huh?" and started to cry and he said "yup" and teared up a little as well. It's been a nice run.
I will still have gear to wash and pads to fit into those tiny pockets next year, but I will have one less set to deal with, one less game to watch, one less son to cheer for. But my memories of all those games will live on forever and right now I'm glad I was there.
This was in a program a few years ago, and it's a little hokey, but it sums it up.
His Football Uniform
For many long years I washed this suit and goodness what a chore!
I've seen the grass, blood and dirt, the stains and grime galore.
I've held it very gingerly, then dropped it in the wash.
While thinking, next week wash again, gee, O Lord, gosh.
The fortune on detergent, the time I've spent _ I shudder.
For many long years I've washed this suit; call me mother.
But today I washed this uniform, perhaps the final time.
After all those years of drudgery, I failed to see the grime.
I saw the boy who wore it with such pride and dignity.
And suddenly, that football suit looked beautiful to me.
I saw the dedication of my young man to the team.
His pride to wear the uniform, to play the game and dream.
I feel the tingling of the game, the tumult to the end.
The heart, the spunk, the cheer and pats of every loyal friend.
The character and goodness that this uniform helped to grow.
And precious boy who wore it is so special I can glow.
If I had one wish for certain, the one I would adore-
Would be to wash this uniform for many long years more!
Thank you Zak!