Any Given Sunday

footballI should be writing, but my son is camped out on my office floor giving me a detailed breakdown of today’s NFL match-ups. He is talking about the quarterbacks from various teams and their strengths and weaknesses. He drills down to aspects of player performance that might be considered a breach of privacy and displays a level of mathematical prowess that I wish would carry through to his Algebra 2 class. I am also wishing that we’d had that second child to give him someone else to converse with. Then again, they’d probably argue over how many Patriots can dance on the end of a foam finger.

I really thought we were done with this. The fantasy football season is over (he won, by the way). For my son, however, the playoffs are like a season unto themselves. We spent hours together just yesterday, and I don’t think he stopped talking once. Not much has happened between then and now, yet he finds ample to discuss. Discussion is a generous word. I have nothing to add to this conversation. It doesn’t matter. I am a warm body with ears.

My screen is blank. I have a long list of writing projects to get to. They are competing for my attention and losing. My son is a juggernaut.

I’m barely following his train of thought, but that doesn’t matter, either. My face must be saying  “This horse is beyond dead. It’s Michael Jackson Thriller Zombie dead,” even though my son has no clue who Michael Jackson is. I have no clue what he’s talking about, either. All I hear is blah blah blah rushing yards blah blah blah blitz blah blah blah. He doesn’t mention the flea flicker. That I would have remembered. I don’t know what a flea flicker is, I just like the sound of the word. That and butt fumble. Poor Mark Sanchez. Even the woman who knows nothing about football knows that much.

I suppose that from my son’s perspective it’s only fair. My husband and I bore him with egregious amounts of detail for even the simplest questions. At least my husband does.  In return, Sunday rolls around, Karma trucks me like a linebacker, and Mike Ditka moves into my office.

I finally chase him off  by asking about his homework. He’s finished, I know, but it has the desired effect. It doesn’t help, however. I can’t think of a single thing to write. Our conversation has shoved all of the words out of my head.

I give up, pop a big bowl of popcorn with lots of butter and join my son on the sofa to watch the Ravens/Broncos game. I’ll admit, it was pretty exciting. He’d chosen Baltimore for the win. It was inevitable, he said, because Peyton Manning had never won a playoff game in temperatures under 40 degrees. The sample size on this statistic is three.

My son is already sizing up the eventual Pats/Ravens game. This requires a dissection of not only the team of today, but the ghosts of playoffs past. We get to Matt Castle. “I feel bad for Matt Castle,” he says. “He’s a decent player, but who wants to play for Kansas City. Really? Does anyone live in Kansas anyway?”

And for the first time in hours, I speak. “Kansas City is in Missouri.”

He doesn’t appreciate the geography lesson. “Don’t you have some writing to do?”

Yes. Yes I do.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Rosh Sillars © 2010 Creative Commons

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8 comments on “Any Given Sunday

  1. Anne Wotring says:

    Oh, may you be blessed that he will still be talking to you like this when he is 20, 24, 26, 28. Color me green!

  2. Veronica Roth says:

    Smiling! 🙂 And completely sympathising. Chloe does this thing where she asks to talk out a complicated reading/response assignment for a uni course with me and then reads excerpts of the reading and expects me to pick up on the meaning and give her a few ideas. Yesterday’s general reading premise: Truth in media/politics/ and the role of public relations. Talked out response: confirmation bias. Two hours later she is happily on her way to a 2000 word essay and my head’s spinning. Ended up processing photos instead of writing. (no lovely hot buttered popcorn, but there was chocolate)

  3. I can totally envision this scene, not just from your clear and concise writing, but also because I live it. Day in…day out…during football season. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Steelers fan, but my interest is primarily in what THEY are doing, and can even extend to information about that week’s competitor, but my son loves to fill me in on every other team, coach, statistic, and bad call from the remaining 30 teams in the NFL. Playoffs require extra-special analysis. I feel your pain. 🙂

  4. This is great! I know exactly what you mean- struggling to relate, and the moment you have something to contribute, they are DONE hearing it.

    My kids are still little, but my relationship with my younger sister is STILL like this.

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