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Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • Julie Fay: Dispensing hugs after a Super Bowl loss

  • I am, at best, a casual football fan. Yes, I wanted the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, but when I hear the word “safety,” I think “dance.” My role during the big game last week was to provide appropriate football food, which I was happy to do.

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  • I am, at best, a casual football fan. Yes, I wanted the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, but when I hear the word “safety,” I think “dance.”
    My role during the big game last week was to provide appropriate football food, which I was happy to do.
    My sons, on the other hand, are comparative football experts, and they looked forward to the game with much excitement. They had been coloring Pats logos and helmets all week, and had made various fan signs for us all to wave at the TV, including an “NY” with a circle and slash over it, like a “no parking” sign. The first-grader even wrote a poem:
    Pats rule! Giants drule! The Giants are going down to Chinatown.
    I’m not sure what Chinatown had to do with it, but back to the big game... I came through with wings and nachos, and my daughter had taken care of dessert with letter-shaped cookies that spelled “Go Pats.” We were ready.
    We had fun watching the first half, taking turns petting the dog and shaking our heads at the missed opportunities. Aside from my urges to cover the kids’ eyes to protect them from the sex- and violence-soaked commercials – latte foam, really? – it was a pretty fun time. We passed on the halftime show. I was worried about what inappropriate antics might transpire, and there were pajamas to put on and cookies to eat, anyway. No big loss.
    We settled in for the second half. By 8:45 p.m., the first-grader’s eyelids were droopy, and my daughter had lost interest. I packed them off to bed, but my second-grader, my diehard sports fan, begged to stay up.
    “Your call,” I said to my husband.
    “Yes!” said the little guy, knowing what his dad’s answer would be.
    As the game went on, the two of them coped with the stress as best they could. My husband put his feet up on the couch, looking like a gargoyle ready to pounce on the next receiver to miss a catch.
    “I have a nervous feeling in my stomach,” my son said.
    “Me, too, buddy,” answered my husband.
    And then it was over. My husband clicked off the TV and my son crawled into my lap, blinking hard.
    “It’s disappointing, isn’t it?” I said, rubbing his back.
    He nodded wordlessly. The poor kid couldn’t even talk.
    “You know what was great about that game, though?” I asked. “The Pats never gave up. Even at the very end, when the clock was running down, they kept trying.”
    “Uh-huh,” he said, sniffling.
    As I was tucking him into bed a few minutes later, he opened up a little.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Mom, do you know what I’m thinking of?” he asked.
    “No, what?”
    “I’m thinking of all the other championship teams, to make myself feel better,” he said.
    “Boston has had a lot of them since you were born,” I agreed.
    “Yeah,” he said.
    “Listen,” I told him. “I promise you’ll feel a little better in the morning. You’ll still feel sad, but not quite as much.”
    He looked at me, blinking again. “Can I have another hug?”
    Sure, buddy. Pre-game food and post-game hugs are what I do best.
    Read more at www.juliefaysblog.wordpress.com.
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