Haden just brought me his bracket, I asked him if we could use it for his blog post, and through the magic of technology, I was able to post this in no time. Time I was using for walking around in circles trying to pick which mess to start with. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. Wednesday is Haden’s birthday. I just got home from a retreat last night. My day is bookended with important meetings I can’t miss. So, yes, there is much to do. I just have no interest in that list today, I’m all up in my head and in need another cup of coffee. (With whip.)
So, that is Haden’s bracketology. There are many, many, many other brackets being filled out as we speak. Some virtual, some newpaper, some posterboard, some handwritten. Why does this matter to so many? Even those who don’t watch basketball all the other months of the year?
I think it has much to do about nothing. What I mean is, for most of the country, winter is a long and often dreary season. Less light, more bills, chinook winds months away. There seems to be very little to look forward to, and sometimes, nothing to do.
It’s simple. Sports bring people together. And in a time when we are refining what community even looks likes anymore, what it needs to not be and how desperate so many are for at least a taste of what it can be at it’s best, sports matter. They matter alot. And to alot of people.
We gather to watch hometown teams, where we have lived or live now, and cheer for a game between two communities of athletes being played out on hardwood. And we are part of something bigger than the problems we are avoiding, the relationships that aren’t what we hoped, the future that looks more bleak than the winter we are leaving behind. It gives us a common lexicon, we have something we can talk about to the guy at the gas station, the neighbor we don’t know what to say to, our own family members.
I love that both March Madness and St. Patricks Day occur in the same week of Haden’s birthday. He is all about movement. He loves anything containing crowds and sports. There was rarely a moment even when I was carrying him through nine months that he wasn’t moving. He hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped. Except for wings, fries, and gatorade. (At least lately).
He has the best of the madness and fiestiness of these March occasions; he comes by both quite honestly. His name and spelling, come from his great-great-great grandfather on my mom’s side, Thomas Haden, whose parents were both full Irish. We usually claim different percentages of our bloodlines and hold them in more or less regard, I just have been drawn for a very long time to the Irish clan, doncha’ know? I so wish you could hear my killer Irish accent.
While his energy is something to behold, which I do daily, it’s his spirit that really defines him. He’s loud and crazy, he reminds me of a fiery Irishman in his tempermant, he’s always ready to play a physical game, any game, please. He is bright, inquisitive and funny. He was built for people time, and he is loyal, honest (mostly) and has a deep heart for any suffering, human or animal. He’s a great conversationalist, a database of sports information, and harder on himself than anyone else could ever be.
There have been times and seasons that I have grieved privately over the difficult traits and genes that he has inherited, about the hard road he has had to walk, living with multiple severe food allergies from birth being one of them. And I’ve battled the perceptions of others who perhaps aren’t used to the technicolor live out loud rule breaker sort that I so happen to admire and love.
I know though, that he is who he is, the creation of love, generations of family, designed by his Creator for a purpopse all his own. So, as he turns 12 (so not possible I have a twelve year old, maybe I miscounted??) I celebrate him, all of him, the day of his birth, the boy he has been and is, the gift wrapped in skinned knees, stained shirts and (as of now) a turned around Arizona Cardinals ball cap.