It seems fitting to have my first post of the new year be one on football. The game continues to be a tie that binds my story. Some days, in a casual conversation, started by my Seahawks swag. Others, in a life changing way that I never saw coming. That, however, is truly a story for another blog.
This one, written by my 11 year old son, Haden, makes me smile, makes me proud and breaks my mamas heart. The one thing that football isn’t in our family, is boring. And by far the two most passionate in our family about football and our teams, is Haden and me.
Me; Seahawks. Haden; Cardinals. And therein lies the tension and drama of the past few weeks in our household. Whereas last year, we were all united in our fandom, 12 strong; this year, has a wrenching twist.
Haden was following his Cardinals with a renewed intensity and excitement this season, and for good reason. And I was following my Seahawks during the first half of the season with a growing knot in my stomach, and for good reason.
I knew all of the things that Pete Carroll was saying about the season were true. It’s just that no matter how much I believed, it’s hard for this girl not to get emotionally invested, to ride the wave of the locker room. And then mid-season hit, and things for both teams took a dramatic turn.
For the Seahawks, an internal change, a season saving week of people and choices and a redemption story that cannot be ignored.
For the Cardinals, external change hit hard, and then hit hard again, when they lost not one, but two of their quarterbacks to season ending injury. They managed to keep their record strong, almost to the end of the season, momentum only stalling when it was needed the most.
Haden’s team, filled with such promise at the beginning, ended in a way that only to a sixth grade boy, was disappointing, embarrassing and crushing. He identified with them so much that every loss felt like losing a best friend.
And as for me and the Seahawks, it’s been bittersweet to cheer (quietly, and privately) on my team, in the same conference as Haden’s, knowing one team was going back to the Superbowl, and one was going to have to watch the Superbowl from the stands in their very own stadium.
Also, Haden has taken on the Seahawks as his arch nemesis. Everything bad and wrong about everything football he credits to the Hawks. Now, he is grieving, and revenging, and hoping that whoever plays the Hawks in the Superbowl (his prediction) will crush them. I told him, sorry, that’s not going to happen.
So, Super Bowl party plans are waiting in the wings, and in the meantime, the Seahawks have a playoff game to play this coming weekend.
In Seattle, in Century Link, and guess who’s going to be there?? Me!! When I heard the day that the tickets were going to go on sale, I mentioned to Mark that I was just going to try and see if I could get any, any cheap enough that was. So that morning I booked a hotel room in a place down the street and at 10:00 a.m., I logged in. All the tickets released were gone. In seconds. But I’d done my research and went immediately to the re-sale page, and on the second try, I was the proud owner of two tickets, way up high, in row Z.
It took some praying to figure out who to take with me, I was agonizing over which family member, but in the end, God made it pretty easy, so my mom and I are heading over for our game in a couple of days! Go Hawks!
So, finally, here is the post Haden wrote out for me on his college ruled paper, in orange pen, in his sweet eleven year old handwriting….
NFL AWARD WINNERS
Walter Payton Man of the Year:
Philip Rivers, Chargers
JJ Watt, Texans
Offensive Player of the Year
Le’veon Bell, Steelers
Defensive Player of the Year
Justin Houston, Chiefs
Coach of the Year
Bruce Arians, Cardinals
Offensive Rookie of the Year
O’dell Beckham, Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Khalil Mack, Raiders
Comeback Player of the Year
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Fantasy Player of the Year
(And Haden won our Fantasy Football league, beating out Uncle Mike in the final playoff!!)
Solid picks, all. No Seahawk players, but that’s to be expected now. And really, this kid knows his football stuff. But more than that, he loves the game. And I love him. So don’t be surprised if along the way we have some pretty amazing adventures and stories to tell that all begin and end with some birds and a ball.