Friday, November 23, 2012

How becoming a stepmom changed the way I watch football

In June 2012, I had the privilege of becoming a stepmom to an amazing 15-year-old. He’s a carbon-copy of his dad at that age. I can say this with complete certainty because I met my husband when I was 12. We had lockers next to each other every year from 7th through 12th grades.

I’m an avid football fan and always have been. I’m one of those people you’ll hear yelling, "Get him!" "Crush them!" "Where were you going?" "Did you bring your brain to the game?" You get the picture. Many who know me have found this behavior baffling since I tend to remain a sensible and calm person in most all other parts of my life. But reason is suspended for the four quarters of a football game, and I would become one of the screaming masses.

This year, things changed. My stepson, just like his father before him, played on his high school football team: his position—a cornerback. Because I travel weekly for my job, I wasn’t able to see all of his games, but I caught as many as I possibly could. And, while I would sit in those steel bleachers, with the wind swirling about me or the cold piercing through me, something surprising happened. When the game wasn’t going the way we had hoped, I heard myself cheer, "You can do it!" "Great effort!" "Good follow through!" "You boys will get ‘em next time."

Attending the games also gave me the chance to meet fellow football parents. By virtue of this, the other players on the field changed from being an unknown player with a number on his jersey to being "Amy and Kevin’s son" or the son of the couple with which we had gone to pregame dinner.

As the season progressed, my new-found approach to watching football carried from the stands into our living room. While our family watched college football, I found myself saying, "He needs a hug after that play." "Poor thing, he tried so hard." "Look at his little face." "Oh no, is he hurt?" My husband and stepson find this very amusing. Of course, they’re still out for blood when they watch football; I just want everyone to do their best and to make it home without injury.

Elizabeth Long is a Sr. Commincations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, newlywed, and Stepmom.

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