Football fever begins at an early age
It’s no secret that most guys go crazy about football, but I wouldn’t have thought it would start at age two.
Considering I had to grab my son about 10 times to keep him from running out onto the football field during last Friday’s game, I think it’s safe to say that he’s ready to play.
Football season is back, and I couldn’t be more excited. Attending our first game this season as a family, I can tell that both Jason and James are just as excited as I am.
We all three went to the Benton Academy game last weekend. Jason had to cover the game for The Herald. James and I were pretty much along for the ride.
In a perfect and serene world, I would have placed James in his seat on the bleachers. We would, side by side, gaze upon the field as the players gave it their all. We would explode into excitement when our team scored. We would sulk when things didn’t go our way.
At halftime, we would both enjoy a hot dog and soft drink. While eating, we would laugh and have a Hallmark card moment.
In reality it was a little more exciting than the vision I had hoped for.
As Jason made his way onto the sidelines to cover the game, James and I took our seat on the first row of the bleachers.
I sat down with my purse and James’ bag and placed James by my side. So far, the night was going as my vision planned. There we were. A mom and son enjoying a football game.
After two minutes of peaceful heaven, James got up. He made his way to the fence. He immediately began to sway back and forth.
The swaying is his calm before the storm. I knew that there would no longer be any calm sitting. James was ready for football.
As I stayed in my seat, I watched James run back and forth down the fence line. I think he actually thought he was playing with the big boys. He followed the football and even stopped to watch when a play was over.
I began to smile, thinking maybe I had a future linebacker or even a quarterback on my hands.
I must have went a little too far into dreamland because when I snapped back into it, I didn’t see James.
Every mother has that moment when your heart stops and your stomach falls to your feet when you can’t find your kid. I began to scan down the fence line, even into the bleachers thinking he made his way up to the top.
Then I saw the fence gate open, and something told me to hurry over there.
James had opened the fence and was headed out onto the football field. Luckily I snatched him before he went any farther.
I heard shouts from the crowd.
“Let him play Momma.”
“He’s ready to get in there.”
It was kind of cute when it was all over with. But after about 10 times, I debated on just sitting down in front of the gate for the rest of the game.
About the second quarter, James discovered that he could crawl down the first row of seats in the bleachers. I decided to let him do it. Whatever it takes to occupy him would be fine.
Then I heard the shout. Even though there were tons of kids shouting and yelling, I heard James’ shout out of all of them.
“Momma,” he said, looking up on all fours at the end of the row. “I stuck.”
His shoelace had wrapped around a nail. I was a hero for a moment and turned him loose.
After a quick supper at halftime, James was ready to play some football. Mrs. Susie Bradshaw decided to let James hold one of those little footballs the cheerleaders throw into the crowd during the game.
James loved it, and at first he held onto it tightly. Then he threw the ball over the fence and onto the field. Fortunately the cheerleaders happily gave it back to James.
I also happily returned it to Mrs. Susie, thanking her.
By the time we all headed back to the car at the end of the game, James was dirty with mud, drink, sweat and food.
Jason was tired from taking notes and snapping pictures.
I was tired from running after an excited two year old.
I didn’t get to see much of the game itself, but the scenes with James were just as fun.
Football isn’t just about the boys on the field.
It was the socializing with the fans. It was the good food and cold drink. It was the laughter of the children playing their own football game on the side.
It was the smile on James’ face when he saw the football. It was his grin when he looked up at the teenage boys near the fence line.
It was Friday night lights at its best.
As I saw James’ small frame against the football players that night, I realized that I would blink and then he would be out there like them years from now.
At least for now, I can watch my little James get his running and throwing skills in.
And there’s no place I would rather be on a Friday night.