We are the champions, at least this year, so the recent loss by our intrepid football players gave us all a chance to reflect on life’s little imperfections. First off, nobody likes a long journey to play on somebody else’s field – bad karma already. Arriving, finding my perfect-taking-photo seat, I receive a text beep on my phone:
“Mom, I’m sick …I’m throwing up, I’m hot all over…”
Then I look up to see the mighty Bearcats running down the field…except my Bearcat was walking, holding his helmet. He spied me, and I made my way to the fence:
“I don’t know…I’m sick.”
“When did you get sick?”
“Now? Right now? Really?”
“What’s the matter?”
“I’m throwing up…”
“Ok, ok…well, do they have anything for you?”
“Alright then, now listen, your team is counting on you…” (the coach behind him shakes his head and blinks his eyes like he is concerned, but still more concerned for the team)
“I know,” he says
Then the tough got going, the ball was snapped, the super sick Nose Guard made the first stellar tackle of the game, then he had to come out for awhile, moaning, holding his stomach and sulking from the sidelines. The other team scored once, then again. The sick Nose Guard drank Pedialyte between bouts of illness, and the rest of the Cats had some bad luck. It was 21 – Zip at the half when the way less than exuberant Bearcats went to half-time break.
Coming back, the momentum changed just for a bit, there was promise in the air with the Cats scoring two back-to-back touchdowns complete with extra points. They were going for that third touchdown, that one that would have been a game changer almost right there on their goal line, when the most hated, dreaded word in football language blared over the loudspeaker: INTERCEPTION!!!
When the Cats lost their momentum, they delved back toward playing imperfectly. The Steers were no doubt happy at the turn of events and continued to capitalize on a less than perfect line formerly known as a formidably perfect defense.
The Nose Guard and his Cats lost the game 31-15, a less than perfect night indeed. Coming back in the car on that sultry, way-too-hot fall night, the sick Nose Guard who was previously too warm was now too cold.
“Turn on the heater, please!” he yelled from the backseat.
“Heater? Here, take my sweater…” As I handed it back, I watched him scrunch his 5’11,” 195-pound frame into it. Good thing knits stretch.
“I’m still cold,” he whined.
Reluctantly I turned the heater dial to register heat. It was upper 70s outside and the heat inside the car made it difficult for the Rockstar and I to navigate small, narrow Texas highways with the windows fogging up which greatly impeded Deer Watch 2014. The last thing you want on a too sultry, less than perfect night is not only to incumber the death of such a lovely, majestic creature but for such an unfortunate item to come barreling through the front of your windshield. But we survived the trip and the too warm, too cold football player lived through it all.
One week later, the Cats came back in perfect form. Victory, sweet victory…but it was also senior night and I was to be at the stadium at 6:45. I was there at 6:30, and the Nose Guard had not given me specific instructions. All too late I noted a procession taking place at the back of the giant, blow-up Cat’s head on the field. It was the parents! Gasp….how I had I missed that???? I ran, but they were already calling names, and since his last name begins with B, I was too late to walk out with him. He had to walk out alone, a rather imperfect scenario. I managed to catch him as he arrived to stand on the white chalk line. The Nose Guard smiled, it didn’t seem so much to matter, I was still there. It is such times that we are reminded of the less than perfect things: time flying, conflicts, broken things, things that don’t get done, things that don’t always turn out the way they were planned. Sometimes all of these things can be overcome with just one perfect smile from a handsome boy on an imperfect night when your team won again, promise was back in the air, and a big giant life was out there – looming large.