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Posts Tagged ‘Football’

As I write this post hubby and our son are off on a two day trip to watch the Apple Cup (the trophy given to the university football team in the state of Washington – Cougars or Huskies). It will be male bonding at it’s best … football, cheap hotels, road trip, and the over-ingestion of flatulence-causing foods … I am so glad that I am not invited!

This trip is part of a plan that hubby and I adopted many years ago, when our kids were much younger. It all started one day as I was listening to a radio program that discussed the concept of a mother-daughter or father-son time away to discuss the years to come, and to provide opportunity to have ‘the talk’ in a less stressful, more relaxed environment. There were materials available, called Passport2Purity that provided a schedule, suggestions of what to do with your son/daughter, as well as audio and visual materials to guide discussions.

For me, the materials provided a springboard for conversations. Some of the illustrations used have been forever etched into the minds of my daughters and I simply because they were so … corny. That said, if you can use them as a guide their benefit will outweigh some of the uniqueness of their presentation (which provides shared humor, so all is good).

The structure of the program provides time for ‘learning’ but also has a strong focus on having fun together as well.

With our older daughter, I took her to Seattle for shopping.

With our second daughter, it was Disneyland.

With our daughters I was able to open the lines of communication broadly in areas such as money and time (stewardship), substance abuses and sexual experimentation (self respect), relationships (honoring one another) and future planning (using their gifts and passions with purpose), and we were able to have these important conversations before they became real issues in their lives. That premature timing, I feel, is key. Rather than waiting until your child is in a stressful, peer pressure filled situation, they can think about and even plan their decision making before it is an issue.

With both girls the trip home was the icing on the cake, with both saying over and over, “thanks for taking me away, Mom.”

Then, once back home, I got to give them a beautiful box full of letters from important people (mostly females, other than their dad) in their lives. They are the people who have been cheering them on for a year, or all of their lives. They are from women who vary in age from about ten (one is a drawing) to seventy. They are from women who share blood … or not, share faith … or not, share location … or not. These boxes of letters hold words of encouragement, words of hope, words of love to read, and re-read again as the tough stuff of the teen years comes their way. These boxes rarely gather dust, as they are places of refuge, of safely of remembering. These letters are the gifts that keep on giving.

And now it is the turn of father and son. Neither one of them knows what a great weekend they are both in for!

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Today marks the end of an era in our home, as our youngest turns thirteen, and we now have four teenagers in the house (plus one on the East Coast). I am now a mother who looks up to everyone under my roof! I am no longer Mummy or Momma, but Mom or hey you! Or, I am the nameless one, only addressed by request, “I need …” “can you …” “I’m hungry …” etc.

Gone are the days of Thomas the train, picture books and after school snuggles. The era of ‘childhood’ is gone from our abode and has been replaced by zits, excessive sleep, numerous showers, unpredictable vocal octaves, searches for facial hair and empty milk jugs. It might be time to re-enter the world of stock trading … I see a rise coming in dairy, deodorant and Dove body wash!

Thirteen years! How time flies. No longer do his older sisters fight over him, or dress him like a doll, now they give him hair and fashion advise.

I now get a daily glimpse of what his dad might have been like at this age, as they look and act so very much alike. They share a love of football, that provides father-son bonding on the field four times a week (and numerous more in front of the tube). They watch sporting events, share a love of history, politics and SUBWAY.

When I found out we were expecting this (now) teenager, I said it HAD to be a boy, because with two daughters I would need a son who would still talk to me when the teens and excessive estrogen hit our girls, and the mother-daughter relationships were strained. What I didn’t realize was that he would need me too, as the added testosterone coursing through him can make for predictable head-butting with the other man (men) in the house.

Years ago, when Ben (the birthday boy) would come home from school, beaten by the day, I would hold him, and repeat, over and over;

I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you …

Sometimes now, he will wrap his arms (that are too long for his body) around my shoulders, pat my head (I think it is just so as to give him the satisfaction of being that tall) and repeat it back to me.

Ben, you are the gift from God, that I prayed for. I love our conversations about Minecraft, dubstep music, science fiction and fantasy movies, and theology. I love that you have a desire to understand how and why things are as they are, and how they work. I love that you understand that the past plays a role in the future (in your own life, and in history). I love that you care about the souls of those around you. I love that you are unashamed of the God who designed, created and forgives you.

I love too that you are human. Like us all, you fail, you mess up, you blow it … and you feel remorse after the fact. Do not forget that the remorse you feel can lead you back to the place of mercy, grace and forgiveness … every time, no matter how far you fall.

Remember too, the best theme of any story is redemption 😉 .

Love you ‘Yamin.’

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As we drove down the road that we do not often drive, I spotted a new home still being constructed. Situated on top of hill, it had a perfect view of the reflected setting sun upon Washington’s Mount Baker. “Oh, what a perfect view I said to my husband,” and barely before I finished my declaration, from the back of the van, my son said, “that house has a perfect view.”

Hubby and I looked at each other, laughed, then shared my similar comment with the occupant of the rear of the vehicle. Then my son and I decided that if the two of us were to build a home, our first priority would be the view.

As I ponder that moment in time, I see similar characteristics in my son and I. We long for beauty, we are aesthetically needy individuals. We desire to have an appealing view in our life, and to be looking toward something that pleases our eyes.

I also see in this similarity, how this characteristic we share, is contrary to my son’s position in football. You see my son plays defense, and when you play defense your job is to hit, to tackle, to do anything possible to ensure that the opposing team is prevented from completing their intended play, and advancing towards the goal posts. When you play defense you have your back to the view that is the goal of your opponents. You are, in essence, trying to alter the view of the game, by changing the direction that the ball is going.

I also see that this characteristic we share is contrary to my position at work. I work as an Educational Assistant in a high school. I work with students who have diagnosable struggles to accomplish their school work. When you work in this field your job is to unlock doors you do not see to rooms of gifts and abilities that may or may not exist. I constantly work with my eyes blindfolded to how far this student will go, I cannot fathom the view that is the potential.

Despite how blinded to where we are going, what my son and I share is a focus on a view that we both know exists, despite our inability to see it while we are doing our jobs, focusing on our tasks, living our day. We are able to do this because we know the view is out there, and we know that it is beautiful beyond our imaginations. So, we soldier on with the anticipation of what is to come.

This is the Christian experience of daily living. God has given us a view of not just eternity, but of a life lived with Him. It is beautiful beyond our imaginations. And, despite the fact that our view is obstructed by the realities of living in a sin-filled world, despite the fact that it sometimes seems as though we are blinded to the future. Despite the fact that it sometimes seems as though our view is behind us, our faith in the existence of what is to come, and of the beauty that awaits, motivates us to soldier on, in anticipation of the view to come.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

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A few years back singer, songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman invited us into his heart with his song Cinderella, inspired by his daughters. The song wooed all of us with daughters, into thoughts of our own little girls growing up so quickly, stepping from one stage of life to the next so very quickly, and reminding us all to take the time and opportunities when they are young to dance with our little girls.

But what about our boys, our sons? I know of one, almost thirteen year old son who would NOT have any interest in dancing around the room with his mother, to a song about Cinderella!

So, as I drove down the road, listening to the Cinderella song, I wondered what is the male equivalent of dancing with Cinderella, for my son? So, I looked at the lyrics to the song, and did some personalized editing 😉 …

He spins and he sways
To each play his coach says
Giving all to the football world
And I’m sitting here fretting
With the fear of him being hurt, on my shoulders

It’s been a long day
And there’s still laundry to do
He’s pulling at me
Saying “Mom, I need you

There’s a game at the field
And I’ve been practicing
And I need to know that you’re in the stands
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

He says they’re all nice guys they just fake the frowns
He tells me his improved tackles mean more touchdowns
He says, “Mom, the game is just one week away
And I need you to make more pasta
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

He will be gone

Well, he came home today with a dream in his head
Just glowing and telling us the CFL is where he will head
He says, “Mom, the league is still years away
But I need to practice my hitting
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

So, that is my ode to Cinderella, for my son, because soon he’ll be gone …

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For months the name Tim Tebow has dominated sports news in North America. There is also growing attention for Jeremy Lin. They are both amazing athletes, they are both young men (Jeremy is twenty-three, and Tebow is twenty-four), they are both sought after to market many products, they are both nice young men (going only by what the press has said … so far … about them), and they are both loudly professing Christians.

Not long ago, I awoke to the sports newscast on the radio. There was great excitement over an amazing, game winning basket, scored by Mr. Lin with less than a second of game time. One of the radio personalities, after the sportscast, said something negative about how Lin, like Tebow, talks about God all the time.

The comments of the radio personality jarred me into an irritated state to start my day. Just why is it that when individuals are successful, when individuals are doing good things, when individuals are living in a manner that is good for society (ie. Tebow (Tim Tebow Foundation) and Jeremy Lin (Jeremy Lin Foundation) both have foundations to support underprivileged and and ill children), when individuals are doing it all in the name of God, our society would rather cut them down, and have them shut up? In a day and age of acceptance of all and toleration, can the name of God not be tolerated?

To be fair, to be a Christian means living in the shadow of those who have blown it (remember Jim Baker? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? Jimmy Swaggart? The ‘Christian Brothers’ of the Mount Cashel orphanage? and so on). Sometimes it is almost fearful to state, publicly, that you are a Christian. As soon as people know this about you, you are pigeon holed with those who have blown it before. In a sense you are convicted before you even sin, because it is expected of you.

God expects it of us too. That is why his love is not a conditional one, that is why his love is littered with grace. That is why those of us who profess a belief and reliance on God, want to share it with others. We know that all that we have, and are, is due to the God who provides. That is why Tebow and Lin (and others in the spotlight, and out of it) want to share it … it is just that good. This belief in God does not make the believer better than others, it makes his or her life better than without it.

I fear for individuals like Lin and Tebow, because they have been placed on impossibly high pedestals, elevating them above all other mere mortals (much like OJ, Magic Johnson, Joe Paterno, Tonya Harding, Roger Clemens). I fear for them, because they are mere mortals, and all of us fail, and mess up, and make mistakes, and do things that are contrary to our beliefs (even atheists have been heard calling out to God before fading into the foreverland of death … you cannot get much more contrary to beliefs than that).

Jeremy Lin said, “there is so much temptation to hold on to my career even more now. To try to micromanage and dictate every little aspect. But that’s not how I want to do things anymore. I’m thinking about how can I trust God more. How can I surrender more? How can I bring him more glory? It’s a fight. But it’s one I’m going to keep fighting.” May Lin win this fight!

When being interviewed by NFL Today, Tebow said, “Mom and Dad preached to me when I was a little kid that just because you may have athletic ability and may be able to play a sport doesn’t make you any more special than anybody else, doesn’t mean God loves you more than anybody else … at the end of the day, it’s a [football] game.” And may Tebow keep this perspective.

As a fellow Christian, I pray that these two young men continue in their life walk with God, and I pray that they continue to give God the thanks, whether the Lord gives or the Lord takes away … praise the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).

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I watched the Superbowl last Sunday, just like every year since I got married to my football loving hubby.

Hum, I need to make a admission … I didn’t watch ALL of the Superbowl, I didn’t even watch most of the Superbowl … I did watch the half time show though, and I did watch all of that.

I have to say that I am usually extremely disappointed with the half time shows at the Superbowl. The sound is usually of a quality equivalent to communication at a fast food drive through. The entertainers are usually older than myself (and if you ask my kids I’m archaic!), to the point that some might say they are over ripened. shudder.

I quite enjoyed the half time show at the Superbowl this year. Maybe it is because the network seemed to get the sound quality improved, or maybe it was because I AM old, and I was a teen when Madonna was rising to the top. The costume changes and dance choreography were fantastic. I was able to lay my head on my pillow Sunday night, feeling quite encouraged that, yes Virginia, there can be a good Superbowl halftime show!

Which brings me to my “just sayin’ ” point.

This morning I was awakened to internet news sites and radio broadcasters announcing with vigor similar to a new father announcing the birth of his baby, or a nation’s leader declaring the start of a world war, that “The bird was flipped at the Superbowl halftime show.”

To which I replied, “Really? Really?”

Had media NOT made it a front page story, no one would have cared (if, indeed, they had noticed at all, and I had not noticed it when I was watching it). Then there is the apology by NBC:

“Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.”

Having watched the Superbowl for a number of years in a row now, I would think that NBC would, by now, have a system that is prepared to obscure inappropriate gestures and statements. It is not like these inappropriate expressions are unexpected (remember Janet Jackson? And now M. I. A.). After all, as I read one commentary today, the entertainers who were hired to perform were ones whose careers are known for shocking acts and actions … what do we, what do the networks, think might happen?

And that is my “just sayin’ ” comment for today!

 

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Today I will go to see my son play football for the first time!

Way back in April, hubby was telling me how much our boy wanted to play football this year. I had my doubts … doubts that our son was the one who wanted to play football. You see hubby loves football! He played in high school. When we met, and were first married, he coached high school football for about seven years. And, he loved it, and he was good!

But, our son … although he physically looks like a clone of hubby, and his mannerisms endorse that cloning possibility, his interests tend to be different from his dads. And, I was really not feeling confident that it was our son who was understanding of the level of commitment and physical exertion that would be required to play on a football team.

I was pretty sure that dad was hoping to live vicariously through son.

But, I was so wrong!

Although he is not yet twelve, and one of the youngest players on his team. He has been practicing three hours a week, since later June. And now that the game season has begun, practice hours are at four and a half, plus games. And he cannot wait to get to a single practice! And he watches the clock, so that he can be ready to go. And he comes home, totally exhausted, saying it was great (even when he gets knocked onto his behind regularly). And he loves his coach. And he loves playing with the guys.

And … he loves that it is just he and his dad :), because his dad, is also one of the coaches on the team.

His dad, more than genetic material, and disciplinarian, and caregiver … is his greatest hero. It is his dad whose opinion matters most to him, It is his dad whose every word, every step he watches, and tries to emulate. Even though their personalities are so different, he knows that it is in his dads heart and life, that he can see his own future.

In the past couple of years, as adolescence has been rearing it’s head, I have been silently mourning the loss of MY little boy. But, this summer, as I see the bond of father and son developing more strongly, more tightly, I am mourning less and celebrating more.

I can love my son tenderly and I can be the first to receive hugs from him (and wonderful bear hugs they are), but I cannot give to him the one thing he needs most … a model of what it is to be a man, and a model of what it is to be a man after God’s heart. It is in the model of who my hubby is, and wants to be, that our son can see hope for his own future, as he grows into manhood.

I am so thankful for the dad my son (and daughters) has. I know he will have the courage and wisdom to coach our son from the experiences (positive and negative) that he has had so far. And, he will also have the wisdom to tackle him into a bear hug, through the years to come.

And I will willingly sit in the bleaches, cheering them on, as he and our son grow and learn together.

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