As a teenager, one of my most enjoyable experiences came on Friday nights after my schools football game.
Id come home and talk to my father and my brother about the game. Win or lose, wed talk about good plays I made, mistakes I made and good and bad plays by my teammates.
It was nearly like watching film of the game and it was a great way to come down from the adrenaline high of the contest itself.
My dad wasnt a huge sports fan, but he understood the game well enough to talk about it as much as I wanted to. Those Friday night talks were my first chance to get his reaction to the game. You see, I never heard him from the stands. He wasnt a big yeller or screamer. Honestly, if he had yelled a lot, Im not sure I would have heard him over Lamont Harris father. Charles Harris had a booming baritone voice and he always yelled a variation of the same cheer. Lets go Big Blue. People could probably hear him halfway to Apex. It was comforting, in a way.
These days, Im the parent in the stands at my daughters soccer games. She doesnt like to be singled out, so Im always careful to aim my loud cheers toward the team and mutter my cheers for Anna Kate under my breath.
Apparently, though, even my cheers for her team freak her out.
I went to one of her soccer games a couple weeks ago and, in an act that simply could not have happened when I came along, I got a text just as the second half started. Surprisingly, it was from Anna Kate. I looked up and, sure enough, she was on the field playing.
The message was short and to the point: SHUT UP!!!
After my shock wore off that she had somehow texted me in the middle of a soccer game, I dutifully ignored her request and continued to cheer. Her team won the game and I felt vindicated.
After the game, we talked about the text. Howd you do that? I asked. Oh, I got Erica to send it, she said, referring to one of her teammates.
I explained to her that I was willing not to single her out in my cheers, but that it was virtually impossible to sit in the stands and not cheer for her team. She seemed to accept that, but I figure there are probably more texts in my future.
To be honest, Im not sure how my father managed not to scream himself hoarse at my teams. As I watch my daughters soccer team from high atop the stands, I see so many things I want her - or her teammates - to do differently. It kills me not to yell out to them to move here, do that, or run faster... whatever. Alas, I am not the coach.
I have a newfound respect for my fathers ability not to sit in judgement from his seat at the 50-yard line every Friday night and keep his opinions to himself. Its just more than I can do. Bring on the texts.