As the whole country kept it’s eyes on Hurricane Irene this weekend, I had a storm of my own.
My storm was called “Texas football”.
Football is big in Texas.
By big I mean HUGE.
Perhaps you’ve seen the show “Friday Night Lights”.
And this past summer Jacob announced that he wanted to play football. “Flag?” I (hopefully) asked. “No, Tackle” he said.
I asked lots of questions like … “are you sure?”, “can you sign up to be the kicker?”, “do they have kickers in 8-9 year old football?” … you get the idea.
Practice started last week and it just so happened that Bill was out of town on business during the week and had his annual golfing weekend in Minnesota over the weekend. Apparently our wedding vows left out the line about not leaving for the first weekend of football practice in pads.
That left me on football duty.
Wednesday and Friday were “helmets only” practices.
How hard could that be … except we had to buy the helmet.
One of dads on the team offered to meet me at the store to help me pick out a helmet which was good.
Wednesday … we were ready and off he went.
After practice the coach told me Jacob needed to practice attaching the chin strap to his helmet. Turns out is was bent so we had to get a new helmet.
Friday, same thing except Jacob couldn’t find his mouth guard because I didn’t realize they were supposed to be attached to the helmet. Another “rookie football mom” mistake.
But Saturday …. Saturday was the first “in pads” practice.
I was SCARED to death. Not that he would get hurt but that I wouldn’t know how to dress him! I had seen the shoulder pads and they had what looked to be seat belts that fastened somewhere and there were ties and a shirt went under and a shirt went over and it was all a bit much for me.
Around midnight I sent a message to one of my best friends whose sons is a highly recruited senior, starting quarterback, for a 5A football team in Clear Lake. I questioned (again) why she had to move away and told her I needed her son … STAT. She wrote back … and I quote … “Calm down. It will be fine”.
Good advice but I still barely slept Friday night.
I’m not kidding. I was SO worried about it. I laid everything out and checked and re-checked.
We got up early and started the process.
Pants, shirt, pads, shirt, helmet, mouth guard.
While we were eating breakfast Jacob said … “Mom, can you take the sticker off that says ‘Large’?". “Sure”, I said kind of laughing that I had left that sticker on. Then he said … “can you also take off the one that says ‘Import’, which was actually “Important”. Oops, hadn’t seen that one either … probably because it had warnings of the potential harms that could befall your child while playing football so I was blocking it from my sight.
But when I went to take off the stickers …. I saw it.
THE PRICE TAG.
Sitting right there on top of his helmet. Right there for everyone to see. I had accidentally made my son the “Minnie Pearl” of football.
Jacob may need to unpack that one in counseling some day. Poor kid.
Graciously a dad with three sons (and an assistant coach on our team) who lives on our street offered to do a “once over” of Jacob Saturday morning. Bright and early we were down in their driveway and he pulled and tightened and hooked and did all the other things you need to do to football gear. We got there looking like this:
And ended up looking like this:
I thought it looked like we were preparing him for a lunar launch however a neighbor walked by and said it looked like we were stuffing a scarecrow.
I liked my analogy better.
One of the first things the dad said was … “Jacob, you got a new helmet” and because we might as well get it out in the open, I said … “yes, and I took the price tag off this one”.
And he laughed and said that he’d seen Jacob’s stickers. In fact I’m sure all the boys had probably seen the bright yellow LARGE “IMPORTANT” sticker that was slapped right across the front of the helmet. Truly it was hard to miss (you know since it was IMPORTANT), unless you were me.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times … I’m not a detail person.
In the end, all the stress was worth it. As Jacob suited up he said … “this is gonna be FUN”! He loved hitting the dummy and the fact that someone brought cupcakes to practice was … no pun intended … truly the icing on the cake.
Afterwards he called Bill and told him all about it. Thankfully he left out the “Minnie Pearl” part. He also left out the part about me asking who was playing “catcher”. I was told that was actually a “receiver”.
There are some things Bill just doesn’t need to know.