Sunday, September 29, 2013

One Woman's Football Healing

Thanks to Global Climate Change, Kansas has recently been enjoying weather fit for human beings. Saturday was an absolutely splendid fall day! It rained lightly in the morning and then the skies cleared into magnificent cerulean and cobalt blues draped with pristine white ribbons of clouds. There has been no better day in the history of the world for a football game!

The problem is that I have not been able to watch a football game of any kind since my only son played his last football game in the freezing rain on a cold, windy night under the dismal lights of the Mission Valley football field - in 2004. The problem has nothing to do with football per se, but that last game was his senior year. He was the baby bird athlete who flew the nest, leaving his mother to suffer in misery with empty nest football syndrome. The best professional football game is not as exciting as a high school game when you know all the boys playing. My son graduated the following spring and was no longer home to watch professional football with me, either. The trauma was so severe and sad that I had to give up all sports - all football and basketball games. For years afterward, I teared up whenever I saw the lights over a high school field. I thought perhaps I would never watch another football game - that my son's last game would be the final football game of my life. I was at peace with that.

My diabolical daughter lured me into attending the Washburn football game yesterday. I only went to spend the time with her but it turned out better than I could imagine. At the first snap of the ball, all the memories of watching Baby Bird (he will kill me if he ever reads this!) out there on the field came rushing back. But I did not even tear up! I realized I was healed of pining away for the years that got away from me, working all the time when my son was growing up. I could watch football and not feel guilty and sad. I did not pine for my son - well, I did just a teensy bit, wishing he would have come with us because I think he would have enjoyed himself.

I sent a text to him, saying he should have come with us because it was a great day for football and it was a good game. His reply: "No way...I'm a man that drinks whiskey and builds shit out of wrought iron." I am not sure what either of those activities have to do with his refusal to come to the game, but maybe he still suffers a touch of football withdrawal himself.

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