Four years ago, I wrote a blog about being disappointed in my son’s behavior at his first high school football game. At the time, he felt we were forcing him to participate in something he did not care for, so he made our participation a living hell. He was rude, embarrassing, insulting and often times came across as a bully; all in guise of getting us to leave the game earlier than planned. Needless to say, over the years, any time I broached the subject for him to attend again, I was met with similar disdain which eventually led me to stop asking him to join us.
“Mom, I’ve made a curious decision…” He informed at the start of this school year. “Um, okay…what’s you’re curious decision?” I asked. “I’m going to attend the last home football game of the season, so I can say I attended the first one and the last one of my school tenure,” He explained. “Really? Okay,” I replied, believing he would find an excuse to back out when the time came. Yet last Friday evening, the boy accompanied his sister and me to the game and did not beg, bully, embarrass or insult anyone. Instead, he admittedly had an “Interesting” time.
“Mom, I’m going to go for a walk…” He said to me, while I talked with friends at a tail gate party. “Okay, I’ll be around. Let me know when you’re ready to go into the game…” I said as he disappeared into the throngs of tailgating fans. About an hour later, both of us were still in the parking lot, in spite of the fact the game was midway through the first quarter. “Guess what I’ve been doing for the last half an hour?” The boy asked. “Um, talking?” I asked; a valid reply I thought. “Very funny Mom, I was helping Mrs. Brach and Ms. Graham take boxes of spirit-wear back into the school–they were struggling to carry the oddly shaped boxes so I volunteered,” He explained. “Oh, cool, that was nice of you…” I replied. “I know,” He said then smiled. “Are you ready to go into the game?” I asked. “Not just yet, but soon…” He said, walking back away. “Okay, I was planning on going in after half-time, maybe I’ll see you then…” I replied and we parted company.
By the time I entered the stadium, the game was well in hand for the home team. After talking with several folks on my way to the stands, I found an unfamiliar woman waving at me. Taking a closer look, I realized the boy was sitting next to her so I climbed the stands to join them. “Hi, I’m Mrs. Soandso…” She introduced. “Yes, the boy speaks quite highly of you…” I replied and she smiled. “You have a fine young man here,” She countered adding, “I’m going to miss him next year”. “He still has a little more than a year to change your mind,” I said and we all laughed. “I doubt he’ll be able to do that,” She replied. Looking at the boy I said, “Don’t try…” and he laughed.
Afterward I asked, “What did you think of the game?” “I had an interesting evening, but to be honest, I never really did watch the game,” he replied. “Guess what bay, neither did many of the people there. You see the football game is an excuse for some people just to get together and socialize,” I explained. “I did enjoy all the conversations I had tonight,” he replied. “I’m glad to hear it. So tell me, you wanna come to the next home game, in the playoffs?” I asked. “No, one was enough thanks,” He replied, not surprising me one bit.