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Football Fever

It’s playoff season (or at least it
was up until yesterday afternoon for us) and both girls seem to be
bitten by the football bug.

Last weekend the girls both sat on the couch with Daddy, screaming
at the television as they cheered their beloved Cowboys on.
“Go, white boys!” Maddie yelled at the screen as we ran
ourselves to a touchdown – in our white away jerseys. This
did, of course, bring on a quick lecture from Mommy, even as Brian
and I tried hard to swallow our laughter.

Cora’s got an entire warm-up suit
and onesie in the Cowboys logo, while Maddie only has a fleece top.
Maddie feels the lack of clothing keenly, and it’s hard to
explain the whole consignment shopping thing to her – that I
buy what I find, and the chances of finding two exact Cowboys
outfits in their sizes at a resale shop were slim to none. Both
girls quickly put on their Cowboy clothing before the game starts,
and apparently Maddie wanted to make sure she was dressed
“enough” for the games and took matters into her own
hands last week.

At Maddie’s school, they’ve got a “treasure
box” full of various small toys, and the children are allowed
to go pick out a treasure as a reward for completing some sort of
milestone. Monday afternoon Maddie got to visit the treasure box,
and she spied a football t-shirt – but for the college team
Texas A&M, not the Cowboys, and in burgundy, not navy and
silver. But to Maddie, it looked like a Cowboys shirt and she
grabbed it ecstatically, waving it proudly at Brian when he got
home that night. Neither he nor I have had the heart to tell her it
isn’t a Cowboys shirt, so when Sunday’s game came
around she excitedly ran and put on her Aggie shirt. “Ta
da!” she smiled as she jumped in front of Brian, and bless
his heart, he cheered excitedly for her new “Cowboys”

The fever has carried over into play dates, and Maddie and her
friend Sam are playing ever-more complicated football games
themselves. Friday morning found us at a park for some outdoor fun,
and both kids brought footballs. I’d also carried a box of
chalk, and a few minutes into our playtime Maddie sidled up to me.

“Mom, the thing is, Sam and I can’t truly play a real
game of football unless we’ve got lines on the field. Sam
brought cones for the end zones” – and here Sam
obligingly held up his orange cones – “but we need
lines. So can we use our chalk to draw lines on the field, just
like a real football field?”

I wish I’d had a video camera to record the two of them
trying to draw chalk lines on the grass. Maddie went on ahead to
try a test patch while Sam gathered up the rest of the chalk, and
apparently Maddie didn’t have much luck. “I need
someone to hold the grass together in a bunch while I draw the
chalk on it!” she said in frustration. “I’m on
it!” Sam said grimly, running over to help out. The two of
them sat together for several moments, holding and coloring, until
they gave up in defeat.

Apparently the chalk lines weren’t completely necessary,
because the game went on anyway. Using an ingenious combination of
wood chips from the playground and a remnant of a two-liter soda
bottle, they fashioned a kicking tee to hold a football. One person
– say, Maddie – would stand behind the tee, kick the
football off – to herself – run and grab it, and then
run to try to score a touchdown. As near as I could gather by
watching, Sam was allowed to try to tackle Maddie as soon as she
picked up the ball from kicking it off – to herself.

“Why don’t you kick the ball to Sam, and him to
you?” I asked Maddie at one point. “Why would I kick
the ball to someone on another team?” Maddie replied,

The Cowboys did, of course, lose yesterday, and it’s been a
dark day in our household. But the sun is shining, and a game of
football will probably beckon the girls outside soon.

I’m fine with them playing football with their friends. Until
it gets to a game of shirts and skins.


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