Sunday, November 23, 2014
One of the best things I love about football is how unpredictable it is. During the last week of August when The Legion of Womb first got together, we helped draft a team whose owner was unable to attend the draft party. We felt quite devious so we drafted a kicker for her in the first round. If you knew Tracy, you would understand how perfect this was. She is one that loves a great prank, and usually she is on the giving end.
After we congratulated ourselves for the amusing thing we did, we got serious about drafting a decent team for her. But, once the season began, the joke was on us. After her first win she posted: “I will make a winning speech.......After all the time and effort I put into picking my team....I’d like to thank all the little people who made it all possible........and for picking me a kicker first :)” From that moment on, Tracy never looked back. Going into the week she played me, she had only lost twice and tied once. She was in first place, and I was feeling pretty sheepish about how I initially handled her team.
That was until, a little bird – in the form of someone else’s husband – let us in on the fact that we weren’t’ really playing Tracy, we were, in fact, playing Eric. Tracy’s dirty little secret: Eric the Husband; the player without a womb. As I grappled with the betrayal that ripped through my heart, I confronted the wombless Eric. To which he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Yeah, I had to trade that kicker as soon as I could.” Wait…what?!? No guilt? No remorse? “I had to trade away a few players but I picked up Steven Haushka, Lamar Miller and Koby Fleener. You guys left a lot of good players on the board. It was crazy.” Of course there were good players left! This was a league for women who are just learning the sport of football. They aren’t going to know every single elite player in the NFL. It’s not meant to be a league where a husband can swoop in and glean the ripe fruit of the draft board. Does taking candy from babies mean anything to you? To which he replied, “I like candy.”
He qualified the statement by admitting that he doesn’t do all of the action with the team by himself, they both do it. “I will yell to Tracy. ‘Tracy! I’m trading Austin Miles for Koby Fleener!’ And from somewhere in the house she yells back, ‘OK!’ So we are doing it together.” Well, how can I argue with undertakings that help communication and teamwork in a marriage?
As the weekend progressed, I overcame wombless players, candy from babies, and marital communications and I beat the Mad Hatter. It was a moral and a personal victory and one that I had an uncharacteristically high amount of pride in doing.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
I’ve been schooled in a very convincing way this week. This match-up between Nikki and me was going to prove to be interesting. Out of all the amazing ladies in our league, Nikki is the one that knows football better than I do. And the score of Week 8 proved it, there was a 26 point differential.
I met Nikki 8 years ago, when our boys became friends as 12 year old 5th graders, these boys are now 20 year old men in college. We both have dark curly hair, three kids and 20+ year marriages. We love Jesus, our husbands, our children, coffee and of course, football. We don’t see each other nearly as much as we would like, we both have very active households and work. Nikki is a master barista at Starbucks and, of all places, when we’re able to get together, that is where we spend hours solving our own problems as well as most of the worlds. There is hours of coffee, numerous potty breaks and plenty of talk about football, whether youth football, high school, college or our beloved Seahawks. We are both life time Seahawks fans and we can reminisce about the team during the ’90s when they were 2-14 as easily as we can talk about the current team.
We understand ourselves well enough that we can text one word and understand the message exactly. I look back over my texts with Nikki and I laugh; there is no pretext, no setting the scene just abrupt statements or questions. Four weeks ago I asked her “Who is Matt Asiata?!?!?” He seemed to come out of nowhere, this RB from Minnesota. But Nikki knew something was up and acquired him off of waivers the week before. He went on to score over 28 points for her. Her only response was, “I know right?” A few weeks later when the trade of Percy Harvin surprised everyone, I received a text that only said “What what what the heck? There had to be some drama going on.” There was no misunderstanding what she was texting about. After the Seahawks two losses in a row, her text read. “You in hiding?” and yes, I indeed was hiding, well pouting to be exact.
And although we can complete each other’s sentences when it comes to football, we are first and foremost wives and mothers. And as we got excited to play one another in week 8, the worst news this community could withstand happened. This region where we live, just recently getting off its knees from a mudslide that made national and global news, has once again found itself rocked. Another school shooting, not at our own local high school where our children go, but at the district just south of us. Everyone in our town knew someone who attends that school, whether a student or staff. Over the next few days we dealt with shock, new information from the incident, and deepening levels of grief. Everything was pushed to the side without thought, as we gathered our families, consoled our children, and struggled through our own fears. We kept our kids close, and that’s where they wanted to be.
Understandably, Nikki and my hearts weren’t completely into the match-up this week. And yet, what makes sports something I love is the fact that you can set your troubles aside for a while and enjoy a few hours of competition. The troubles won’t be forgotten or solved; I will still have the responsibility of working through them, but sports give us a way to temporarily put our burdens down. We enjoyed a Sunday of football, in a subdued way. NFL victories were a little hollow and NFL defeats weren’t nearly as devastating.
Nikki and I shared some banter and we made sure that we bet something so that we both would love, win or lose. I owe Nikki a very large coffee, a huge hug and hours of soul-healing fellowship.