Monday, October 12, 2015

An Ode to My Amazing Son

"Mom, your blog sucks," my son said last week. "You don't mention me for three weeks, and then when you do it's just to correct Dad about Quidditch. Sheesh."

Yeah, yeah. This from the kid who groans loudly whenever I retell my favorite stories about him. Who's tired of hearing the one about the tantrum he threw at age 2 when he was told that no, we were just dropping Daddy off, he was NOT going to be playing a round at one of the finest golf courses in California. (I manhandled him back to the car while he kicked and flailed and screamed I WANNA PLAY SPYGLASS!!! at the top of his lungs.)

My son is smart, funny, genuine. He's studying business but his real passion is sports.

He knows the rules to every game ever invented, including a 9th-century Viking board game called Nefatafl.

When I rode in my first dressage test, back when my son was six, I told him how I'd done a transition at the wrong letter and then said, "Oh, shoot!"

"Mom," he said, "You're not allowed to talk during a dressage test."

"I know," I said. "They took two points off."

"Of course they did," he said. "Next time read the rules."

Next time--when he was seven--he watched my test in person. When I came out of the ring he studied me with his hands on his hips. "So," he said, "What happened with that second canter transition?"

"Oh, hush," I said.

We are at a pub in a tiny town in Ireland having lunch. My son is ten. A line of grizzled Irishmen sits at the bar, watching Irish football, a sport that seems to have no rules at all. Onscreen something happens "AAAHHH!" shouts all the Irishmen, and my son. One of the Irishmen salutes him.

We're on a plane home from Costa Rica and he's discussing Costa Rica's chances in the World Cup with the man sitting next to him. We're watching an English premier league football game and he and the man beside him are discussing the career of one of the more obscure players, in depth. We're watching Notre Dame in last year's bowl game and he's calling the plays ahead of time, trying to get me to watch which players go which direction, trying (and failing) to get me to understand.

He's five, and furious with his t-ball team because they don't know how to turn a double play. He's ten, sliding into first base in practice just for the joy of getting dirty. He's thirteen, leading a triumphant rush onto the floor as his middle-school basketball team wins their first game in two years. He's seventeen, starting a travel agency that specializes in golf trips to the Ireland and Great Britain.

He's twenty, talking to his mother on the phone, saying that he's going to watch his hall (dorm) football team play. "Why aren't you playing?" I ask.

"This is hall football, not section football," he says. "Hall football is full contact with pads. They have try-outs for hall football. I play section football." He plays section football, section basketball, bookstore basketball, golf. Watches his friends on varsity golf, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, hockey, and of course football and basketball. He's a sports-obsessed student at a sports-obsessed school, which means he's at the right place, which makes me very happy even if I don't say so all that often.