Maybe it is more of a Southern thing. Especially being raised in Alabama.
Up North people tend to have a favorite NFL team. But being from Alabama, we didn’t have an NFL team.
Not to say that people from the South don’t follow the NFL. My husband is a Dallas fan from way back.
But when you are raised in the South, you must pick a college team, to live and die for. Preferably one from your state.
In Alabama that means Alabama or Auburn.
So being the good Southern girl that I am, I picked my team around age six. And I have been tried and true ever since.
Now being that I also appreciate a good challenge, I married a man who graduated from my teams rival school.
Because who likes for things to be boring. Or effortless.
So now we are raising a family in a House Divided. We agree on most topics. But we will never agree on football.
We didn’t realize what this divide would mean once we had children.
Now we have little people who have their own minds. They get to decide which way they lean. Or heaven forbid if they don’t even care about football at all.
Once we had kids, the pressure was on. They must be instilled with a deep love of the game. The very love that their father and I both share.
And they must all four become Auburn fans.
Because this is my blog.
But Dad has another opinion. He wants them to all bleed crimson. As in the Crimson Tide.
And there lies the rub.
A couple of our kids have expressed early allegiances, but we know that nothing is in stone. Not yet. So we keep pushing our agendas. As all good parents do.
On game day, I proudly sport my orange and blue. While Dad is in his crimson and white. And our children watch. Gathering their own opinions.
But I know they will do the right thing. No one wants to break their mother’s heart.
Above all else, we want them to share our love of college football.
So imagine how we felt when our middle son came to US and said that he wanted to play football.
Since the very second that it was confirmed that I was carrying our first son, Hubs has been talking about his boy(s) playing football. Following in the old man’s footsteps. And hopefully going even further in the sport.
I mean, look at that tough guy,
Dad had visions of our boys playing ball. Of course he did. But now our seven-year old wanted to play rec ball.
And Dad squealed like a little girl. On the inside.
On the outside, however, he was scared. No one loves these kids as much as I do. Except their dad. He wants to keep them safe. That is a daddy’s job. And now he had a little boy begging to play football. A full contact sport.
After much thoughtful thought and discussion, we decided that he would play. I won’t lie, when it is your kid who will be strapping on shoulder pads and a helmet, everything gets real.
But this kid really, really, really wanted to play. And we found a great league that goes to great lengths to ensure the kids’ safety.
So that was that. Our son was going to play football.
And then he was assigned his very first set of pads and a helmet.
I cannot even deal with the level of cuteness. I must stop staring at that picture.
Now I am not going to lie, this kid has always been a bit dramatic when it comes to things like pain, sunscreen application and vegetables. Meaning if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it.
So in the beginning I was concerned that he would not be able to keep up with practices or that he would quickly grow tired of the work that is required to get into shape, in order to play a physical game, such as football.
And then my kid blew me away.
He has never once complained. Not once. He gets out there, every single practice, and he does the work.
He sweats. He runs. He pushes.
He is very new to the concept of the game so he is learning new things every day.
He genuinely loves playing the game.
He isn’t the best player. Not yet. He isn’t the fastest. Or the strongest. Or the most skilled.
Maybe the best looking though. Said his mother.
But he is there. Every practice, every game. He is learning, stretching and growing. I look at him and my heart swells.
Then it occurred to me. It is not about football. Not at all. I mean, sure I love football. But what is THE best feeling is that he has found something that he loves. A passion.
I have four kids. And they may not all share my love of football. And that is okay. As long as they do find their own loves in life.
I may have a kid who wants to be a champion chess player one day. And I will be right there. Whooping and hollering at his matches. And probably getting kicked out.
Because there is no whooping and hollering in chess.
I love these kids. My joy in life now is watching them find their way. Find their passions.
Now if my son, just so happens to share my passion, then that is icing on the cake.
I love these kids with every fiber of my being. And I will follow them down any path that they choose. I will be their number one fan, in any endeavor that they take on. Their cheerleader, all the way.
When I became a mother, I put my heart on the line. It now belongs to four young people, who just so happen to call me Mom. That is greatest title that I have ever known.
Look at that face. Squishy smooches.