An Alien in the Bleachers: An Irish Mother on American Football

gameplan

(Image source: Pimm.com)

The levels of testosterone are high, the chest bumping, butt slapping, and shouts of, “Yeah! That’s my boy!” echo from the hillside – and that’s just the mothers’ reactions! The fathers are a whole different ballgame, pardon the obvious pun!

High school football, it is my third year of watching my son play the sport and I still don’t have a clue what’s happening out there on the, what is it, a pitch, turf, or a field? But this is my first year of watching him play at high school level. I’d better get to know this game because it is a sport he loves dearly.

Now if he played soccer, tennis,  rugby, or water polo, I’d a have a clue. But this stop and go playing, these interceptions, touchdowns, tackles, yard lines, and game plays totally bamboozle me. But there is a certain amount of theatrics to it.

I don’t think I was ever into sports. Fitness, yes, but sports, no. I appreciate it though. The team mentality, the level of fitness, the comradeship among players, that’s all good. But the rest of it is lost on me. The uniforms make the players look broad shouldered with massive thighs, but in reality the 14 and 15 year-olds beneath the cage and padding are pretty average for their age.

Yeah! That's my boy!-Not really. (Image source: www.sokol.kiev.ua)

Yeah! That’s my boy!-Not really. (Image source: http://www.sokol.kiev.ua)

It is a unique sport, American Football, though it was influenced somewhat partially by rugby – another sport I know little or nothing about. I know there are two teams, two goal areas, a captain, a ball, and a lot of players falling on top of each other; that’s a tackle, right?

I wonder if I’ll be chest bumping, butt slapping, and shouting, “Yeah! That’s my boy!” four years from now?

For an Irish mother living in the US and raising an Irish-American son my hope is that I do have a clue what’s happening when he plays. I don’t want to be out of the loop and wondering what’s going on. For now I will clap and cheer when the other parents do! That I can do.

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