Friday, August 28, 2009

"Pardon Me, If It's No Trouble..."

(Peanut is the one in the center of the photo with his "Lineman" stance. Grrrrr!)

I love my almost-10-year old, "Peanut". From the day he was born, he was always very sweet. A “cuddler” and…..a bit of a Mama’s Boy, he always does his best to do what he thinks is right.

At nearly 10 years old, he still collects stuffed animals and says “I love you, Mom” about a hundred times a day. Out of the blue, he will tell me that he loves his grandmas and grandpas, how much he adores his dog, Max, and quotes random scientific facts (“Do you know why a spacesuit is white? So that it is cooler because it reflects the sun and so other astronauts can see it. Did you know that there is gravity in space?…it is just less.”).

He is smart as a whip, loves to read, is a master Guitar Hero player, plays piano, and is starting on the viola this year. Stubborn as an old mule…but a very good heart and is one of the gentlest and kindest souls I have ever known.

This being said, I have to talk about his love and participation in football.

Peanut plays in the community youth football league. An organization, I assure you we had no idea when we signed him up for it, that is an extremely competitive, travelling league. The coaches yell a lot in practice and blow the whistle to the point of near annoyance. I painfully watch my delicate flower of a son as he lumbers around the field and when Coach makes him run two laps. I can only breathe again when I know he has successfully completed the drill. Peanut wants to always have someone at practice to watch him because (and these are his words, not mine) he might “puke”.

When we signed him up last fall for this league, we knew it was tackle football and full pads and gear. Peanut begged and begged to do it. He loves football – his favorite teams are the Vikings and the Iowa Hawkeyes. To bring down an opposing player like the “big guys” do on TV? Well, to Peanut…..this would be sheer bliss.

However, because Peanut is such a kind and gentle soul….I am not sure football is his game. He has a tender demeanor which prevents him from being aggressive on the field. He tries so hard to please the coaches and he certainly has size on his side…..nearly 105 pounds. He pushes himself through each practice and game and is learning all the skills and plays of a Lineman. Starting out as Defensive Lineman, he was moved to Offensive Lineman because he just wasn’t aggressive enough to “give it” and was much better at “taking it”.

I tell him that I am going to sprinkle a little “mean” in his cereal each morning. He laughs and gives me his sweet, little smile and says, “Mo-om!!”

Peanut’s interpretation of “bringing down the other guy” is to awkwardly squat down, wait for the hike, then quietly say to the other boy, “Pardon me, number 26, if it’s no trouble, would you be so kind as to not cross this line of scrimmage and tackle our team’s quarterback? It would be most appreciated,” while his other teammates are dragging down the other boys by their legs and hips into the mud. I, of course, exaggerate. However, Peanut DOES master the “gentle fall down” technique by tapping the opponent on his chest or shoulders, then looking for the pile-up and running to jump into it.

At least he is trying. He has stuck with his football career longer than I could have expected (and it just started three weeks ago) and I give him points for that. I am very proud of him. He loves football and I want to support him every season, if he wants me to. I must admit that he does improve with every practice and I did watch him at practice lat night actually PULL DOWN a ball carrier. Very impressive.

This may not have been the way Peyton Manning or Brett Favre started out, but one thing they all have in common is passion. Peanut shares this love for the game and tries very hard and as long as he knows I am on the sidelines with a water bottle and a friendly word of encouragement, that is all that matters to me.

Who knows? He could, one day, be the big star on the high school Bulldogs football team…..or not. But it will be fun to watch him find out on his own.

Until next time….I remain, 1SweetMama

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