I am a Woman and I love SportsCenter

Hello, loyal readers!

Okay...I'm having one of those "I REALLY don't feel like working" days, I'm being completely non-productive, and regression testing of my new code just isn't happening. So in an attempt to at least LOOK busy, I think I'll blog for a while.

As most of my loyal readers know, I have a 12-year-old son. In one of my life's ironic karmic twists, my son is NOT a FanBoy. Go figure.

So now I'd be willing to bet that some of you are asking, "How is THAT possible? Spawn of FanGirl hates sports??"

I told you it was ironic.

So, my friends, this is the story of how a boy can grow up with a mother obsessed by sports and still call the time periods of a football game innings.

My son Alex was born in October, right in the middle of the NFL season (right around Week 6), and he came home in a Chicago Bears onesie. My then-husband (who is NOT a sports fan) rolled his eyes, threw up his hands, and said, "Whatever. I give up. Convert him to a sports junkie." And I tried, my friends. I tried. It was just not to be.

I have a picture of my son and me watching his first Bears game together. He was 9 days old. I'm sure he understood the game and all of its complexities. He went to his first Cubs game when he was seven months old. When he started walking, I started teaching him how to play football. When he started talking, I taught him to say "Go Cubs!" and "Da Bears!". He played his first T-Ball game on 9/11/01, which is the memory I choose to hold of that day.

Shortly after that first T-Ball game, Alex started mentioning that he wasn't all that into sports. He started wandering the house while I was watching football. He didn't really care about the World Series. Suddenly, it wasn't as important to be next to Mom every minute of every day.

Needless to say, this was a bit distressing to me. I could already picture him in his letterman's jacket, the QB of his high school's varsity football team, the Big Man on Campus. I saw myself in the stands at Notre Dame Stadium, cheering him on as he threw a TD pass, looking over at Touchdown Jesus. I saw myself in a Chunky's Soup commercial as the mother of the NFL's latest phenom.

I never pictured looking down at my six-year-old and having him tell me that he wasn't all that into sports.

This was my first really hard lesson about parenthood. Despite my hopes and dreams for Alex, I knew that they were MY dreams. I never wanted to be that parent screaming on the sidelines about the coach's lack-of-intelligence, or her kid's lack of effort, or the shortcomings of the kids on the other team. I especially never wanted to be that parent that pushed her kid into a sport he hated, that parent who was living vicariously through her kid.

So now I was faced with my son's first real moment of independence, and it came with a plethora of questions. How should I balance being the parent, which inherently means making certain decisions for my child (because, well...he's a CHILD), with letting him become his own person?

I decided that the best way to handle the situation was to ENCOURAGE his participation in sports, but not to mandate it. I also decided that it should be HIS decision as to which sports (if any) he wanted to participate in.

I was going to continue to be a FanGeek, and if Alex wanted to watch games with me, he could. While my heart ached that he and I wouldn't share some of the same sporting moments that I did with my dad, I recognized that he had to forge his own path.

Alex did find his passion. It's definitely NOT my passion, but that's okay. He's a gamer. Not a baller--a gamer. He's a video game genius. He can make his fingers do 28 different things at once, and it's all coordinated and purposeful. He can beat a new game in under a week. It's a passion that he shares with his dad, an activity that they bond over. I'm okay with that.

Besides, just last week, Alex asked me to explain what the "Line of Scrimmage" was.

There's hope for him yet.


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