Growing up in New York City made team sports sort of difficult and coming from a family of artists, musicians and dancers, it was something we just didn't do. Living now in a small lovely town, my boys have asked to try football and I want to support them, I just don't speak that language; have never been to that country.
On top of this, I had already signed them up for sleep away camp and the dates didn't work - they're football practice has been going on for weeks and they're still away.
Today I attended and served up some well-done burgers at the annual football jamboree in my town. I put in my couple of hours of volunteer time while the other parents hustled around me, collecting dollar bills for gatorade, wrapping hot dogs in foil and walking their one, two, three and sometimes four or more children around the field to get to where they needed to be, or keeping the little ones occupied for the endless hours of helmets and shoulder pads and sweating they had no choice but to endure while older brothers stalked the field, looking for the ball, and their place in the line up.
Unlike most families there, my sons were not on the field. In fact, they're not even in the state, but instead they're hiking and swimming, playing drama games and making up skits at sleep away camp. They've missed the whole first three weeks of practice and, to my knowledge, will have a great deal of catching up to do on their return. I was told this would be all right.
While this fact alone is causing me undo amounts of stress, anxiety and borderline panic, it was fascinating to actually participate at the big event without worrying about my boys. I was a helper, but I was also observing, learning the language of this foreign country called "football," a country full of vim and vigor, ecstasy and agony, large, complex fastenings and gear, committed parents and, yes, cheerleaders.
I have to admit I'm a little embarrassed to admit I never really knew they existed.