To my sister, my friends, and other Varsity football moms,
I am sorry. So very sorry. I’m claiming ignorance. It’s a lame excuse, but the only one I have. Truly, I didn’t know and I didn’t understand.
You see, I love football. I love watching NFL on Sunday afternoons. I get excited in August and depressed in January. I’ve sat in the seats at Lucas Oil Field and the old RCA Dome and cheered on the Indianapolis Colts. I’ve driven to countless games and sat through seasons of football. No football thrills me more than watching my own son play.
I thought I knew all there was to watching Eric play. Until last night.
I used to laugh at the serious football moms. Maybe you’ve seen them too? I’ve learned to spot them yards away. These are the tense moms. The moms who are not smiling and definitely are not looking like they are having fun. While the rest of the spectators are laughing and dancing and “high-5ing” one another, these moms are leaning forward watching only one set of numbers move on and off the field. Some of them may even be sitting on their hands to keep them from shaking and willing themselves to not vomit.
Here is what I did not understand…there is a palpable intensity to a high school Varsity game. It doesn’t matter if it is football or basketball. If you don’t believe me, just look at how many movies Hollywood has made about high school games.
Last night, I was smiling and laughing until a teammate got hurt. Until that point, Eric was the back-up tight end. With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, he suddenly was #1. He played the remainder of the game and played well. He did what he was trained to do. I, on the other hand, suddenly became the nervous wreck.
So, as I sit here the morning after with a sore neck and shoulders from being hunched over intently watching every move #89 made, I want to apologize. I’m sorry for laughing at you and trying to talk to you at a game. I’m sorry for picking you out of the crowd and judging you. Mostly, though, I’m sorry for not understanding. I just didn’t get it.
Rest assured, now, that I understand the intensity directed at the twenty-two boys on the field, I will be joining your ranks. And at the end of the game, win or lose, I will tell you that your boy did well…and so did his mama.