Monday, October 19, 2009

I've Done It A Thousand Times On Madden

2009 Friday Night Lights - Week 2:
My arrival at the stadium was 2 and a half hours before kickoff. I regrettably had volunteered to help with the kickoff BBQ which was a bust. I think they forgot to advertise. As I arrived in the parking lot, B was already there and dressed. He appeared to be retrieving something from his rig. I parked and then snuck up on him only to see him reading his Book of Mormon. My shock was hopefully not noted. I gave him a soft knuckle to the arm and told him “way to put your trust in the Lord” - then walked away- truly grateful for what I had seen. Two hours later he came streaming out of the tunnel with his teammates for his first home game of his senior year. They do this huddle thing where the last few guys pile on top of the helmets. My kid was a piler –on. I think it’s stupid. Surely someone is going to get hurt. Strangely- nobody cares what I thinkJ B had a large cheering section: eighteen friends immediately around us and around eight family members, not including us.
Early in the game, the star running back (having established himself as that last week) had a great run for a 71 yard gain. A teammate blocked in the back, making it only 21 yards. The RB gets hurt, and then we begin a series of fumbles- literally 8 eight of them. B had some nice catches. He didn’t play any defense. They eliminated back field players from playing both ways. I’m not gonna lie to you. This mom believes the idea was unsuccessful. (How long before the coaches figure it out?) The most interesting, perhaps notable highlight for B was deep in the 4th quarter he was told to line up to return the kickoff. In the nine years he has played football, he has never done that before. The crowd around me chattered as to whether he must be completely nervous. My heart raced for him. The ball was kicked to him. I swear the thump as it hit his chest was audible even to me in the stands, but with a firm hand grasp keeping it tight he advanced up the field to the 35 yard line for a gain of about 25. Not a bad effort. He actually looked strong as he powered up and two guys brought him down.
The stands were almost empty by the time we watched them walk off of the field into the locker room. We had been beaten soundly by the worst team in the league. (What does that make us?) You might wonder with a losing team if the stands will be empty from now on? Or will this team and coaching staff unite and turn this thing around? I went home and found the best frozen chicken pasta meal my freezer had to offer. B ate it, and over a big bowl of cantaloupe we chatted. This is fun as he shared little insights that you wonder about from the perch in the crowd. His mood wasn’t too sullen as he actually did well himself. Sadly he had limited opportunities for receiving. We asked him about receiving a kick off for the first time. He curtly said- “it was easy- I’ve done it a thousand times on Madden. I knew how to find the holes!” We all had a good chuckle, turned to go to bed with a final accolade his direction, and a firm reminder that he had the ACT today and needed to go to bed.
So then, was their success? I say yes- perhaps in ways we won’t even begin to see for a bit. I don’t think we have seen B play his best football yet!
To be continued. . .

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