Tuesday, November 27, 2018

On the field

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
"Looook! They're on the field!" Sweetie's little arm shoots out, tiny pointer finger waving. "Can we go on the field?"

My eyes twinkle as they meet Husband's across her head. I've been thinking about this moment since partway through the third quarter, when it first looked like we might really win. Really, I've been hoping for it (in an "ooh, do I even dare to hope?" way) all game, especially after we got off to such a nearly unbelievably good start, stopping That Team and scoring a touchdown on our first drive.

"The Game", with all the surrounding pageantry, is so woven into the fabric of who I am that my eyes got watery just walking up to the stadium with Sweetie and seeing traces of that hideous maize and blue sprinkled throughout the gameday scene. I was the kid who taught my cousins to make sure all blue and yellow Legos were separated by red or green ones in every one of our construction masterpieces. I was the kid who really didn't buy yellow shirts, and if I ended up with one, I had to wear it with khakis, because it couldn't possibly go with blue jeans. When we made some mistakes at the end of the first half that whittled away at our lead, I started yelling so loudly that Sweetie turned to me and asked, "Do you need a hug, Mommy?"

My dad, who hasn't missed an OSU home game since 1968, grew up going to games and rushing fields with his dad. When we finally beat M*ch*g*n for the first time in my memory, when I was 10, he didn't hesitate to throw me on his shoulders, where I was so cute in my inflatable football helmet that we ended up as the background for ABC's sign-off at the end of their coverage. The elation of riding on my dad in the midst of a sea of celebrating Buckeyes stands out in my memory with unparalleled clarity.
me on my dad's shoulders after the 1994 game, from the TV broadcast
In college, my parents laughed at the way that I was one of the first band members (along with a few big sousaphone players) to run onto the field in Ann Arbor when we won there my 4th year (after having lost there my 2nd year). NOT running onto the field hadn't even crossed my mind - as soon as the first few guys went, I was with them!

When I was pregnant with Sweetie, she got to rush the field inside my belly. So now, even though I'm adamant that we don't skip her naps, the possibility of building her first field-rushing memory was so special that I'd decided that just this once, we could stay for the whole game. And what a wild, astonishingly fantastic game it was! We scored so many touchdowns that we seemed to be celebrating constantly (after that right-before-halftime, hug-inducing scare)! Sweetie's wide-armed "touchdown" signal got bigger and more open-mouthed every time. Still, I hadn't even dared breathe the "if" of going down on the field until the clock ran out and she beat me to it!

"Would you like to go down there?" I looked into her huge blue eyes as the faint sounds of our alma mater tried to float above the raucous cheering.

"Let's go down on the field! Let's go down on the field now!" Her wiggly body started trying to wriggle out of our attempts to take selfies with the scoreboard in the background. Laughing, we joined the lines of people calmly but happily pouring down the stairs. As I handed her over the railing  to Husband and dropped myself down, I stopped to breathe in the pure sweetness of passing this joy on.

crossing the goal line: Touchdown, Sweetie!

Another blonde-haired girl on her daddy's shoulders, a familiar kind of special!
leaving the field through the team tunnel!

Football is more than just a fun activity. It creates moments and memories that weave our family together.