For as long as I can recall, the boy has not liked football. When he was just a young lad, he didn’t appreciate being tackled. In his eyes, the others attempts at tackling him was not fun and part of the game, but rather, a personal attack-an assault against him. Therefore he removed himself from any attempt by others to play football with him. In doing so, the boy was able to control his surroundings and keep those “physical attacks” to a minimum. Whenever his father and I tried to engage him in the sport, whether as a player or a spectator, he’s voiced his dislike loudly and embarrassingly to anyone within earshot of hearing.
Friday night, the boy’s High School was playing his father’s alma mater and we decided to attend the first half of play. The doll, upon hearing our plans willed a friend to call and ask her to spend the night. As she left, the boy exclaimed “Take me with you!” to his sister.
No such luck.
“Mom, bad news, we didn’t buy tickets at school. Sorry, we can’t go…” He tried to dissuade me. “That’s okay bay, we can buy them at the gate.” I replied. “No! Please leave me home!” He shouted. Sizing him up and down I asked him “What do you have against going, supporting your school and being a member of the student body? You might surprise yourself and have some fun” I tried to argue.””Do you realize they expect me to stand the entire game in that section?” He asked. “Bud, that’s where you meet up with classmates and begin forming friendships..” I said. “I’d rather burn in hell” he replied.
There’s this fortitude in a parents resolve, where we believe if the kid could just get past his own animosity, he might actually start having fun. Filled with such fortitude I dug my heels in and said, “Dude your coming with us regardless; try to have an open mind for once…” Upon hearing my response he dug his heels in further and determined if he was being forced to go, none of us would have a good time–and tried his best to carry this through.
As we walked around the stadium to the visitors side, I kept trying to reinforce how much fun football was, while he continued to complain: the stadium was filled with short sighted bullies; condoning the assault of those carrying the ball. “They aren’t bullies if everyone is playing for their own enjoyment” I argued. “Tell that to the people who are being forced to attend dumb sporting events” he shot back.
We found a nice place to watch, surrounded by our friends. As the boy sat down, my friend Kathy asked “Why don’t you go sit with your classmates?” The boy snorted and replied “Why would I want to hang out with screaming noisy people?” “Um because it’s fun” I tried. “Fun for idiots sure…” He said. At that point his father elbowed him saying “Knock it off!” Looking at me the boy announced, I’m going to the concession stand” and left to fill his belly with junk food. For a brief few moments hubby and I were able to enjoy the game and laugh with our friends in the stands. before the doomsday black cloud of the boy returned. “What’s happening” he asked and I was hopeful his resolve was breaking. “We just scored” I said. “Can we leave this circle of hell now?” He asked. “Why don’t you like the game?” My friend asked. To which he responded “I feel like I’m sitting with a bunch of moronic fools.”
At that point, his father leaned over and whispered something in the boy’s ear. A moment later the boy announced he was going to walk around. I leaned over to my husband and asked “What did you say to him?” “I told him to stop embarrassing himself in front of our friends.” When halftime arrived, we said goodbye to our friends and left for home. As we walked back to the car, the boy continued his verbal assaults directed at me. Having heard enough I turned and said “You know bud, this may not be your thing, but loudly making fun and insulting all those people, your parents included, who were there to enjoy the game, makes you into a bully. Stop having such a narrow focus and allow diversity into your life. Otherwise, your life will be very boring and lonely.”
“So long as there’s no dumb football in my life, I’ll be very happy.” He replied, completely missing the point–as usual.