Kenny Chesney sings a song called the Boys of Fall, and I’m living it right now. John Michael and his dad are at football practice several nights a week. Then they come home and Michael gets on the computer and pulls out paperwork and messes with X’s and O’s for a while, or he talks on the phone to one of the other coaches and they discuss. And then on Saturdays – except last Saturday when I held a yard sale, unbelievably – we relive those fall days in high school when the Friday night football game was the event of the week, only now the players and cheerleaders aren’t the people we have crushes on. They are our children. And it’s the freakiest thing ever except that it is so crazy fun. John Michael has his dad’s number from high school, and I’m pretty much beside myself watching that number on the field again. It always was my favorite.
I heard an author of young adult books say that the reason she writes for that age group is because she loves that age group. She remembers junior high and high school as a time when you can play at lots of different roles. You can be the athlete one season and an artist the next. You can be a writer, a musician, and a scientist. You can try just about anything and be moderately good at many of them at once. I think we tend to lose that a little too much in adulthood and don’t have enough varied interests. But it’s also true that at some point you do sort of have to narrow it down. And some things simply won’t be available to you any time but then.
That’s the season my kids are entering, the one with all the choices and all the roles and all the chances to shine. And I am so looking forward to all the Saturday games.