Sundays in our house are Football Sundays. At least during football season. Right now, we’re enthralled with the NFL playoffs. This morning, the kids were so excited when they woke up. One of the first things they asked about was whether or not the Patriots won last night.(They went to bed after what they found to be a deeply disappointing Saints loss. Lucas actually cried a bit.) Luckily, the Patriots had a convincing win over the Broncos. “Looks like Tebow Time is over now,” was Logan’s response.
I watch football and enjoy doing so, but Nigel and the kids study it. Logan was the first convert. She watches and knows players’ names from all kinds of teams. She has clear opinions about players, plays, and teams. Lucas has followed her lead and not only sits through most of a game, but also is beginning to learn team names and to keep track of scores. The couch is the center of the action on Sundays, and while the kids pop on and off the couch for occasional lego building, snacks, bathroom breaks, and to do Aaron Rogers’ celebration dance when the State Farm discount double check commercial comes on, they mainly spend the afternoon alongside their Dad getting caught up in the excitement of football.
We’re a Patriots family. We are transplanted New Englanders after all, which makes us more loyal to this team than we were when we lived further north. But the kids also root for all kinds of teams; they don’t watch a game without cheering for someone and they get deeply invested in one team for every game played. They especially like teams with animal names like the Miami Dolphins or the Philadelphia Eagles. What happens when the Dolphins play the Patriots? Major dilemma. For them, animals are more exciting to cheer for than a group of patriots.
What is great about these football moments is that Nigel gets to enjoy football while sharing his knowledge and enjoyment of the game with our kids. As they watch each game, or pieces of games, the kids ask Nigel questions, he explains plays and calls to them, and they all cheer or gasp together depending on the situation. They are sharing and developing a mutual passion. Nigel also gets plenty of chances to model how to root for a team, and how to deal with your favorite team’s ineffective plays, bad decisions, and tough losses. Important lessons they can practice on the soccer field (since I’ve banned Lucas from playing football), when playing board games together or with friends, or even when they have an off day at school.
Most importantly, the kids are spending memorable time with their Dad. I smile at these moments because they also remind me of times I spent watching boxing matches on Thursday nights with my father. My heart warms when I think of the times we sat, watching, oohing at an avoided right hook, gasping at a connected upper cut, marveling at the swift footwork of a lightweight. Those times resulted in so many impromptu conversations just because we were in the same space spending time together.
Is there a favorite pastime you share with your children? Is there one you remember sharing with a loved one?