Sunday, September 20, 2009

Football Friday Night

On Friday night, when Lea asked if she could go to the football game with friends, I was thrilled. My dark daughter has, in the past several months, gotten a haircut that is sassy and cute and decidedly NOT designed to hide her face. She has started to wear colors. She has a nice social group and all of the attached angst and drama associated with a teen social group. And now she wanted to go to a HS football game.

How awesome.

How very normal.

I indulged in memories of attending HS football games when I was in Jr. High. It was warm and happy and wholesome. It smelled like autumn leaves and tasted like hot chocolate. I loved cheering with the cheerleaders and watching the band - knowing that soon I'd be a part of it but for those two short years of seventh and eighth grade I was free to just absorb it all. To be a part of it without any obligations. To be a part of it from the sidelines. To be old enough to be interested but too young to actively participate. It was one of the few 'between' stages that I actually cherished.

I loved football Friday nights.

So when Lea said she wanted to go to the game with a girlfriend who lives basically across the street from the school, I couldn't say yes fast enough. Yes. Absolutely. Go. Blessings be upon you. My only concern was that there would be a traffic cop to help them get across the street, because it's a busy one. I was assured that there would be. I rested easy. She made plans to sleep over at the same girlfriend's house after the game.

How awesome.

How very normal.

When she came home the next morning she told us excitedly about the game. She asked if she could go every week. Yes ma'am, you sure can.

I'm still not able to drive and Tom REALLY hates to shop and is a little bummed that he has to do all of my errands, anyway, so I asked my sister (who assuredly does not share his aversion to shopping) if she'd take Lea shopping for some spirit wear for next weeks game.

Spirit wear has NEVER been something my former child of darkness has ever requested. I was positively giddy at the prospect and started planning sweaters and scarves I could knit for her. We've got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit, how 'bout you?

How awesome.

How very normal.

My sister's response? I've used the comparison before: 'twas the needle scratching and bumping its way across your favorite album. Screeeeeeeeeeech! You won't be enjoying THIS song anymore...

"You let her go to a football game without parental supervision?"

"Yeah - What? WE went to all the football games without parental supervision." I don't want a kid who runs wild in the streets, but I don't want to be a helicopter mom, either. I'm working hard to find that balance. I felt sure a high school football game was a safe place to give her a little freedom.

"Do you KNOW what goes on under the bleachers at those games?"

"Nooooooo....." I replied, feeling considerably less awesome.

"Well, everything, that's what. It's crazy."

"Everything?"

"Everything"

"Like smoking?"

"Yes."

"Drinking?"

"Yes."

"Drugs?"

"Yes."

"Making out?"

"Yes."

"Wow." I said, feeling pretty defeated, naive, and duped.

"And more."

"There's more?" Now I just felt deprived.

"You name it."

I greeted that with an extended silence. I thought I just HAD named it. All of it. The conclusive list.

Frak.

So now either Tom or I will have to go to each game and work once again to find that balance. A little freedom, but not too much. Watching but not hovering. A presence. Frak, frak, frak. Just when I thought I was getting it right.

How non-awesome.

How very normal.

40 comments:

Badass Geek said...

Yeah, but didn't some of those things happen when you were that age, under those bleachers?

Supervision is a good thing, yes, but it seems to me like you kid has a level head on her shoulders.

Sandy said...

Sounds like BG covered what I was thinking.

BONNIE K said...

Hate to ask, but will she still want to go if her parents are there?

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

Frak indeed! Friggin' frak!

I love my little girl and am seriously afraid of when she comes a tween with hormones and boobs. Is there a place where I can order a chastity belt? Like the one in Robin Hood, Men in Tights?

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Oh yes High school football games. Everything happens under those bleachers!!!
I was happy that my girls hated football.

She sounds level headed so I wouldn't worry about her!

Lynn said...

Oh, please!
Those things are available for teen participation Everywhere.
You are just going to have to talk and talk and talk.

Also, I'd talk to the mom of the house where she spends the night or goes to a party ALWAYS!!

Housewife Savant said...

Go to the games. Wear your spirit scarf. Cheer.

And enjoy this stage "between" a firm butt and death.

We Love Our TEAM.
We Love OUR Team.
We LOVE. OUR. TEAM!

carma said...

Way to put a damper on things! On the brighter side, at least now you can make yourself some funky spirit wear from the weeks that you will be attending :D

blueviolet said...

Yep, you gotta hover to some extent, not too close and not too far. The balance is oh, so tricky, isn't it?

Becky said...

Okay...how old is your daughter??

Cause now I'm freaking that YOUR freaking.

My daughter is 15 and I just started letting her go to the HS football games....

Swine said...

Jesus, frakkin Christ on a frakkin frakstick. I got nothin, T. Nuthin. My heart say to let the kid run free. She's smart and she'll find her way. My head is already concerned that my five-year-old wants to watch that little tart i-Carly. Good luck.

Joanna Jenkins said...

how does supervision at at a school football work? Do you going to hang out under the bleachers looking for kids?

My family lives in a small town and it's safe for kids to go to the local football games but I live in LA and never in a million years would I let a kid go to a game alone :-( And for sure you have to talk to the parents of the house she's staying over, Right.

Phew, I'm so glad I don't have kids. Raising kids is hard!

xo

FranticMommy said...

No one knows their kid like you Mommy.
Sounds like a perfect time to relive the old days and start going to football games.
p.s bring your own Hot Chocolate. Start a new trend with the Latte and Cappacino drinkers.

Anita said...

Seriously? Our "behind the bleachers" faces the parking lot.
My guess is that if a teen wants to be drinking smoking or having sex it can be done in many places. Our role is to talk, be open and available and know our own kids. Try to know their friends and trust them a bit.
I think you are all those things.........take it easy, and buy or make more spirit wear!

Pam said...

First, I'm glad your "dark daughter" is trying new things. And that these are things you are happy about. My girls have always been pretty open about what happens at school events. For instance the dont' like school dances because kids are basically simulating sex on the dance floor, but they do enjoy football games. So that makes me think it's a much tamer event. Maybe you should talk to her first and ask her about what goes on under the bleachers. The balance between hovering and giving kids independence is such a tough one. Good luck!

JennyMac said...

LOVE this Tammy!!!! Awww...it brings back memories bc I loved Football Friday Nights too but we were too naive or scared to do much under those bleachers. Others werent...I'm just saying...

Your child is a product of you..so therefore smart and thoughtful. Hopefully she is just truly interested in the game. :)

mama-face said...

This touched me so much. It's easy to see how excited you are for your daughter having the High School experience. I agree with a lot of commenters; that bleacher stuff has been going on since there have been bleachers. As someone who may or may not have stood at the edge of the bleachers; I feel like that there is a more talk about what's going on under there...than what is really going on. Not that there is some pretty frakky stuff happening somewhere; anywhere with kids.

I wondered if being the house where everyone hangs out would work for you? It is a good position to see what's going on...it does mean staying home a lot!

The Grown-Up Child said...

Yes, very normal and yet totally terrifying for a mom. Looking back at my own teenage years, I'm not looking forward to mothering through them. Good luck! I can't wait to read how this all turns out!

Kathy B! said...

Maybe you can volunteer at the concession stand or something. I agree with your first commenter and I also think having a presence isn't such a bad thing either. I got into a fair amount of trouble as a kid -nothing big - but I didn't really know what I was doing either. There's a fine line between goofing and getting into real trouble. I don't think many kids know exactly where that line is drawn.

Grand Pooba said...

Wow, I'm glad my high school's bleachers where set on a hill and "under the bleacher" events weren't physically possible!

MiMi said...

I used to go to the football games every Friday when I was in highschool. That stuff never went on under the bleachers. I mean, yeah, bad stuff happened under the bleachers, but not during a FB game!! There were TOO many adults around for that. We were always good, and trust me, I was lookin' for trouble. Maybe things have changed? Probably.

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

bleachers may as well have the sign

TONGUE TOWN written on it

oh things never change!

Tsquared417 said...

I think you did a good job! She will make good decisions because you've taught her well!! Not everyone does those bad things. :)

Dorothy said...

That can happen anywhere, give her the rules unless she's really young and start building trust, what you can do is have someone check in at the games from time to time to see what's going on. They have to be given freedom sooner or later and with the rules she might surprise you and rise to the occasion. There are very good kids as well as the others...her's hoping your daughter will do well and have fun.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

Dreamgirl said...

Sounds like you are a football fan!

Just stopping by from SITS to say hello.

MaryRC said...

i was SHOCKED when i first read you let her go alone !! we go to FB games with our 9 and 12, luckily we do not have an under with our bleachers, but the riff raff that hangs around is questionable. im not a fan of the games but like you its opportunity for socializing.

wish i could see you at the game...

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

If you ever figure out that perfect balance of hovering/not hovering, please let me know - it would be nice if I'm armed with that knowledge before Princess Nagger gets to that age... :)

WhisperingWriter said...

Wow, I didn't even realize what went on under the bleachers.

parentingBYdummies said...

I never visited the underside of the bleachers (unless I dropped my lip gloss down there and had to go retrieve it), and I was at every football game (I was a cheerleader). I don't think it would hurt to show up at a few of them (might be fun), but you probably don't need to be at EVERY one of them. Check it out a couple of times and if things look good, maybe they really are. Don't look a color-wearing-cute-haircutted-child-of-darkness-free gift horse in the mouth, that's what I always say:)!

kel said...

I never once went to a high school football game!! But if i did.. I probably would have been one of the bad kids under the bleachers!! lol...

Unknown Mami said...

I think you guys can take turns and check them out and if all goes well maybe just drop her off and pick her up. I went to football games by myself.

Hit 40 said...

A football game in Ohio is very safe. There are several cops at the game. Plus, schools tend to keep the sides separate. Visitors do not get to mix with the home team to avoid fights. Enjoy the evening off!!

Gibby said...

This scares me for my future!
I can't wait to hear what happens when/if you guys go.

Life is good! said...

oh yes. you have the hardest job in the world right now. not in the raising of the kids but knowing when to let go, how much to trust, how much of a rope to give them without it being to tight and not enough to hang themselves. most days i am glad those days have past for me! good luck.

Melissa B. said...

You never know...she just might be wanting to go to the game for the game. And the friends. And the spirit. But I do have to save you never want to have to clean up trash underneath the bleachers-as our detention students do on Saturday mornings...at least at Our Humble High School, at any rate. Hey, I feel a post coming on!

Here's hoping the recovery is going well. I'll be more of a "regular" soon, as soon as I get all this crapola out the the way. Speaking of OHHS, that is. Oh, and you and I must be on the same SITS schedule. Yippee!

bluecottonmemory said...

Independence with training wheels! Don't let her burst your balloon! When you've had a child take you through the tunnel and it's dark and frustrating, and you see them finally reaching the end of that tunnel, don't let anyone steal your joy!

Make an evening of it with the hubs. Mine loves football. I love hanging out with friends. Make it a social evening that just happens to be where she's at! Enjoy!

Jennifer Juniper said...

Damn, my boys are not quite teens yet...I thought you named it all too! I'm in for it.

Alicia said...

yeah thats a tough call..that's so awesome that she's getting into the spirit of things and wants to participate!! you know your daughter, trust your instinct...and sure i'd go to let her know that you're aware to what happens at games, but hopefully you won't have to go to every game and she can know you have a sense of trust in her... keep us posted!

Ginger said...

If she could tell you about the game, she wasn't under the bleachers.. :)
Here in my town, the bleachers are FULL of the community folks and security is constantly pacing around the perimeters, keeping a close eye on all. High School football is one of the safest activities around. It's the mall that's fucking scary..

Vivienne said...

Puh-leeze. Those things have always gone on under the bleachers. You went to games and didn't go under the bleachers. (You didn't go under the bleachers, right...?) Your daughter will make good choices if you give her the opportunity to do so and tell her you'll tar and feather her if she doesn't.