Time to impact: five…four…

Posted by mwallach on February 12, 2012 in My Kids |

Dear That’s Life

I thought it would be a disaster, as if an asteroid was travelling at break neck speed on its way to earth. Exact time of impact known, I braced myself for the hit and prepared for the worst. The house was well stocked with necessities and as the clocked ticked down, I held my breath. Having fifteen third grade boys over for the Super Bowl can send just about anyone running to battle stations – and that’s exactly where we were.

Allowing my son to host a bunch of boys for the big game was my husband’s idea. My son eagerly jumped on the bandwagon, getting ahead of himself regarding the plan of action. He came by it honestly, as my husband’s planning took on a life of its own. While I usually do not play the role of adult in this relationship, it became my job to step in and settle them both down. No additional televisions were going to be set up in various locations around our home for convenient viewing, I was not making commemorative t-shirts for the occasion and Dan Marino was not being invited. That’s where I drew the line.

The irony of our hosting a Super Bowl party is that we are not big football fans. If the subject does come up, we can be found wearing Miami Dolphins t-shirts and jerseys. Although there is no chance of them making it to the Super Bowl anytime soon, my son and husband are hoping the rumors of Peyton Manning going to Miami are true. (Personally, I am just waiting for pitchers and catchers to report for spring training.) Regardless, our excitement about this year’s game was more about being New Yorkers than anything else and so planned a party.

We have made plenty of birthday parties and have had numerous people for holiday meals. However, there was something about the impending influx of these boys that made me anxious, as if the biggest game of the year was not enough to keep them occupied. Afraid that only I was excited to watch Madonna’s half-time show, I needed a plan to keep the boys entertained before play resumed.

If Martha Stewart had showed up to our home that evening, I wonder if she would have been proud or quietly disappointed. After making about a hundred cake pops, the idea was to dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle them in various toppings. Martha would have been proud. When the pops activity was over, we had large white cookies for the boys to decorate in the spirit of the big game with different color icing and other toppings. Good idea? Yes, but Martha would have raised an eyebrow because the cookies were not homemade.

As the boys arrived, many in Giants gear, one of my daughters came downstairs – in a dress. I asked her about her wardrobe choice and she said, in all seriousness, that she was ready for the “Super BALL.” She thought she was Cinderella. Clearly, there was a misunderstanding.
By the time Madonna and her Egyptian minions took the field, the game was exciting and the activities were going well, though I was still waiting for the asteroid’s arrival. I was not inviting trouble, but was surprised that nothing had yet gone. My lamps were in one piece, the game was not a blow-out and the boys were all smiling. They even posed for pictures, despite having three Patriot fans in the pack, and began a football game of their own in my basement. The night was going perfectly and I was becoming convinced that we might avert all disasters. Everything was fine – until the Giants won. Who could have predicted THAT would have been the problem? Enter asteroid.

My first year in sleep away camp, I was really excited about the camp-wide singing competition where boys campus and girls campus competed against each other. We practiced for days, dressed up and even wore make-up. The same age as my son who was currently hosting friends, I remember how devastated I was when girls campus lost the sing-off that year. I cried and cried. Not only was I extremely disappointed, but I was also terrified that my older brother who was a member of boys’ campus was going to rub it in my face. It was an awful night. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Therefore, I knew exactly how one of the boys felt when the Giants won. A diehard Pats fan, he was crushed when Brady’s hail-Mary was incomplete, when his beloved Patriots imploded during the last minute of the game and when his team – the one favored to win it all – walked off the field stunned. Crying and wailing, he was almost inconsolable. His mother had luckily joined us for the last quarter and served as a source comfort. “I don’t like football anymore!” he said, crying into his mother’s shoulder. His pain and disappointment were real and I knew exactly where he was coming from. And with all of my planning, this was one scenario I did not see coming.

When you’re eight years old, it is not just a game. Luckily for this boy, he is a Patriots fan. Chances are good they will be back in the Super Bowl before he knows it. I did not ask him, however, if he was a Mets fan. There was no need to rub salt in the wound.

As Seen in the South Shore Standard Feb ’12

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