Thursday, October 3, 2013

I raised no punks, officer

When it comes to sports, our culture has tipped into insanity, if you ask me. After last night's wild card game in Cleveland, which the Tampa Bay Rays won 4-0, Bill and I had a conversation with a police officer. In hindsight, I wish it had lasted longer.

As we waited for the stadium to clear, the officer came by and asked if we were traveling with the Rays. No, just family waiting go home. Oh, who do you have with the team, he asked. Our son: he works in the Rays' communications department.

He zeroed in on me. "You're a fan of your son, not the team," the officer declared. He baited me, saying it repeatedly, as if being "a fan of my son" somehow ranked below being a sports fan. I didn't apologize and I tried not to defend. But I wish I'd said more. Here's how it would've gone ...

Darn right I'm a fan of my son and my other three children, too. Through the years, I chose not to spend money on expensive team sweatshirts or Ohio State football tickets. Instead, I sat in the rain and wind at tennis matches, baseball and soccer games. I hauled lawn chairs and coolers across muddy fields. The son who now works for the Rays sat the bench for most of his high school baseball career. I could never understand it, but managed to keep my mouth shut and go to games because baseball was his passion.

I don't even like sports very much, but I love my kids and support them in what they love. I made it my business to be at nearly every game and figured out how to feed a family of six when we were at the ball field every night. I washed their stinky uniforms, bought countless cleats and shin guards, made gallons of Gatorade (powdered saved money), listened to their heartache over a missed goal, and encouraged them to stay in the game even when I saw no point. I didn't scream at the refs or chew out the coaches, ever, because my responsibility was to model good sportsmanship and character to my kids.

I'd point out to the officer that he has four fewer punks to deal with because I did my job "being their fan." If every sports team on the planet flew to Mars, it would have less consequence than my accomplishments as a mother. My kids are obeying the law, working, paying taxes, raising families, and pursuing God. If that is less important than supporting a sports team, then God help us all.

Thank a mom today. Thank your own mom if you can. No mom is perfect. We are frazzled and frustrated and fallen, but most of us have our priorities straight, officer. I don't find my worth in being a sports fan, no apologies needed.

All this said, go Rays!

1 comment:

Diana Coon said...

And the things expressed in this column are the reason I am such a big fan of YOURS. Your children had a huge advantage...they had a mom who got it!!
Wish I'd written this!