It’s that time of year again. The smell of the grass, the roar of the crowd and the essence of that huge billowing cloud of testosterone wafting over the state and nation means that it is football season once again dear hearts. It’s kickoff time.
Football means many things to me. My memories of football swirl around my head like fall leaves in a sudden gust of wind swirl around my feet. As a former high school principal my memory bank is filled with incidents in and around the game. Many of the pictures in my mental scrapbook are positive, while many are very negative. I can visualize the field of valor and victory where players vault in victory; cheerleaders flip, pom pon and primp replaying vestiges of the past when males performed and females cheered for them; spectators spend, spectate and “splendiforize” their team.
I also see a field where the vanquished suffer a debacle, drubbing and defeat. Each game is played out in the same manner. There is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Many times I have stood on the sidelines and heard the pop of the pads and the crunch of the tackles; the grunts and groans as the gladiators gamely gamble in game grabbing gamboling to gain advantage; coaches render ear-splitting invectives of displeasure at the team; other coaches are wondrously positive and motivating. I remember the roaming crowds of students who come to see and be seen and never cared about the game; little kids play their own games around the bleachers. The band performs. There is the inevitable fight between students who come to get even.
Although some of you can hardly grasp the idea, there is a little five-year-old girl who hates football. It isn’t because she is scared of crowds or sensitive to noise. She hates football because….
Jill was babysitting for a five-year-old whom she described as a “petite, dark-eyed, curly-haired bundle of love.” As they played and made an evening of girl things, Jill decided that it would be the crowning event of their night to polish Brianna’s fingernails and toenails. She was thrilled at the idea.
“Do you want red polish?” Jill asked. “I know that your Daddy just loves the Tigers football team.”
“No!” said Brianna. And her beautiful eyes were filled with anger! She stated angrily, “I hate football. All Daddy says is Brianna, be quiet so I can hear the game and Brianna get out of my way so I can see the game, and Brianna, go upstairs and leave me alone so I can see my football game and Brianna bring me a drink and more chips so I don’t miss a play.”
To believe they are valuable and loved, children must know they matter to their own flesh and blood parents. Because nobody wants to be the parent of a runaway prodigal, we must keep our hearts, laps and arms open to our children. Otherwise they could wind up hating sports or planes or God or school because of us.
Larry Vandeventer. Go to my two websites – Larryvandeventer.com and wjrambler1956.com – and purchase my books. I grew up North of Calvertville and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State. Contact me at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.