Influencing the doll…

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As I mentioned earlier in the week, my son’s high school football team (The Fighting Irish), were playing for the state championship on Thursday and the boy had no interest in participating or supporting the team. Last night, we were happy to find the game being televised on the Fox Sports Ohio channel. What I found most interesting were all the adults I knew-who no longer have children at the school; screaming and yelling in the stands, every time the camera panned across the Irish stands. I can honestly say I was more than a little envious of them. (The stands were also filled with about 70% of the student body) “Bay-look at the fun you’re missing out on…” I said when he sauntered into the room-his eyes glued to his iPad. “Momma, I don’t understand why you try to sell me on something you know I don’t like…” He remarked. “Well, probably because I remember how much fun I had at the games when I was your age”.  He hrumpfed before going back to ignoring me.

The doll wandered in, after completing her homework and asked, “Why aren’t we watching Peter Pan?” ” I’ll flip back and forth during commercials..” I said, without much more explanation and turned my attention back to the game. “I wonder if I’ll see Annie at the game?” She spoke aloud. “Was she going?” I asked. “Yep…with her dad” she replied and turned her attention to the game.

There we were…the boy, doll and me…in the same room. No one was calling the other names…No one was told to “SHUT UP!” Instead we were just living and let live. Then all of a sudden I would erupt in cheer and clap at the scene before me.. and watch as the doll cheered with me.  The boy on the other hand nonplussed. “Bay you should be cheering…” I scolded. “Mom it’s inevitable…they are destined to win”. He explained. “Bay this other team–is really good..” “Destined…” He said without looking up from the iPad. “Mom do you think he’s placating you?” the doll said with a laugh. “What was your first clue?” I replied.

As High School football games go, this was a game for the ages…both teams combined to produce over 800 yards of offense–setting high school records in the process. Our team ran the ball extremely well, the other team’s passing game was unbelievable. “Mom how are they moving the ball up the field?” the doll asked and I began to explain the basic tenants of football to her. “So every time they are tackled, they start from that spot?” She asked. “Yes”. “What are downs?” “Well each team is giving four chances to go ten yards…” I replied. At one point one of our running backs broke free down the sideline and together we both screamed, “Run! Run! Run!” The doll looked over at me and said, “You must be rubbing off on me mom…” and to be honest, I couldn’t have been more proud of her in that moment. I glanced over at the boy…totally emersed in what he was reading; oblivious to us.

The television camera panned back to the Irish student section and the doll  was enthralled. “Do you think they are having fun?” She asked. “Aside from being cold…? Are you kidding me…they’re having a blast, can’t you tell?” She looked at the TV again and said, “They sure look like they are…”. “Doll, here’s the thing about football… regardless whether you like the sport or not, you should have a modicum of interest-primarily because when you’re in high school, you have games to go to and have fun with classmates. When you’re in college, there are games or parties to attend, wrapped around the sport and then when you’re an adult…there are more parties to attend. You may never even watch a minute of the game…but being with others who are…is a blast.” She nodded her head as if trying to absorb what I had said; as her attention was drawn back toward the game. A minute later I added, “When you’re in high school…if your football team makes it to the state championship game–I’ll take you”. Without hesitation she said, “OK!”

The game ended in dramatic fashion… 4th and 1 on the 7 yard line, with 18 seconds left in the game, the Irish quarterback ran to the left, around the field and scored the winning touchdown. After all was said and done, the final score was 56-52–maybe not a defensive struggle…but certainly a fun game to watch–with the best possible outcome for our kids. As for the boy, when I yelled, “Yes, yes we won! We won!” he looked up from his screen and said, “I told you they were destined to win.” “Oh bay, you missed one heck of a good game…” I countered. “Don’t bother with him mom…he has no idea how much fun we had” Then she stopped looked over at me and said, “Huh, who would have ever thought I’d say that to you about a football game?”

Another proud momma moment.

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