Saturday, August 28, 2010

Block and Tackle

His eyes were intense, his posture one of anticipation. The muscles in his quadriceps trembled slightly at the prospect of sudden, reluctant use. Would muscle memory kick in, summoning the mechanics necessary to properly execute the tackling technique? Or would advancing age and blown out knees betray him, leaving him in a cloud of dust created by the flip-flop clad opponent sitting to his immediate right?

Promises made to an eleven-year-old boy were sincere and full of good intention. Any effort needed to subdue the potential hysterics from the estrogen-filled half of the parenting unit could only be considered a worthy calling and noble cause. Through out the football game, an event that entailed the crunching of helmets and prepubescent grunts that are unnerving to all whom are maternal, the dad squatted uneasily in a three point stance beside the bleacher supporting his hand-wringing spouse .

“It’s a contact sport,” he repeatedly reminded his wife. “The players are supposed to hit each other with intensity and aggression. Laying someone out flat brings the coaches joy.”

“ It’s against all that is good and holy,” she often responded, in the same tone used when telling her oldest child how fun it would be to be home-schooled in college.

An ongoing conversation that always ended with the son pleading for the dad to intervene on his behalf during a game. “Block her, tackle her, do what you have to do to keep her on the sidelines where she belongs. You gotta do that for me, dad,” my son implored in the same tone used when he told us how not fun it would be to be home schooled in college.

So, the man sat tensely, ready to spring forward at the first hint that the mom might sprint onto the field to comfort the shoulder pad wearing boy that just yesterday had been a diaper wearing infant. The man’s running shoes held the advantage over the flip-flops, but her quivering womb edged out his momentum.

First quarter. Second quarter. Third, then fourth. The boy held his own while his dad held the back of his mom’s shorts. “He’s fine. See, he jumped right up after that play. Maybe you’re a motivating factor after all,” he stated while gripping tightly to her belt.

The game ended, the man’s quadriceps relaxed, the technique remained untested. Only ten more games to go.


nottoooldtolearn said...

Soon you will feel that way with all of the boys on the team when they play. I have the added bonus of working in the ER seeing football injuries, then going to my son's games on Thursday nights and then watching my husband coach our high school boys on Friday nights. I remind myself that it is pretty rare for anything major to happen. It is really important for the kids to learn proper technique. Enjoy your sports watching and Goooo Dawgs!

Joni said...


You're probably right. I have a better chance of being injured running onto the field in my flip flops than my well-padded son playing football.

Maybe I'll add football gear to my get-up. Or a sronger sedative prescription to my diet.

Either way, feel sorry for my spouse. : )


nottoooldtolearn said...

I'm sure your hubby can hook you up with something to calm the nerves :-)

What I struggle with is when a mom from the other team cheers against my son's team (which she is supposed to do). I sit there quietly, but inside I'm thinking through different scenarios of what I would like to do to her!

Gail said...

My son never played organized football, but he has played ice hockey since he was eight years old, and he is now on a club team at Mississippi State. I know what you are going is tough watching your son play a contact sport.

Joni said...

Thanks, Gail. I made my husband read your comment and last sentence.....twice.