SPORTS!!! Am I right? A few nights ago, my family and I cheered for my niece during her high school Lacrosse game. It was a blast, as well as really, really confusing. To me, organized sports seem like an aggressive game of hot potato only with matching outfits. I just don’t get it! Even in cross-country running, the only competitive objective I can come up with is to see who can find the most drinking fountains the fastest. However, Lacrosse is a different creature all to together.
Lacrosse is a game of mixes—as if its origins derive from people putting a list of hobbies into a hat and then acting out every activity via improv. I picture the idea for the game coming from bored, blurry-eyed teenagers. “I know! Let’s play soccer, only with pool skimmers, and tennis balls!”
I should know, I grew up with three bored, blurry-eyed brothers.
My childhood was long summers of no supervision, ruled by brothers with severe cases of A.D.D. It was the nineteen-eighties when the lack of seatbelts in cars wasn’t a school carpool deal breaker. A neon place in history where Halloween candy wasn’t looked over first but eaten on the spot. And A.D.D didn’t stand for attention deficit disorder, but rather, attack, dominate, and destroy—that was the nineteen-eighties mantra, I swear. No wonder we’re all helicopter-parents now! For decades, we were in perpetual flight for our lives!
A favorite made-up game of my brothers was called “Fingers.” To play, one would willingly go to one side of the Ballard table, wrap all ten digits around the edge, fingertips touching the green, and wait. A brother would be on the opposite side with all sixteen polished and shiny cue balls. And then the rolling began.
There was one rule: You let go before ball and finger collide, you lose. You cry because your fingers get smashed, you get punched. We never told my parents because we were playing a game where corporal punishment was the outcome! What would tattle-telling get you?
Watching Lacrosse the other night seemed equally organized and strange. It was a game of what? Hockey lacrossed with baseball, lacrossed with Quidditch, only minus Harry Potter’s magic Badminton birdie?
Don’t get me wrong. I am fascinated with group sports, probably more so when I can’t understand what’s going on. Take, for instance, Curling.
Curling is basically cleaning a path (at a rapid pace) for an iRobot Roomba, only on ice. I don’t care one iota about the pastime, because to me, Curling makes sense! If ever I hired a maid service, I’m sure I would clean my entire house before the crew got there, to avoid the shame of random people seeing how I really live! I don’t know. Maybe I’m a dimwit lacrossed with a weirdo, lacrossed with a what—Quidditch only minus Harry Potter’s magic Badminton birdie?
Having said this, however, I miss going to sporting events. I miss sitting in the crowd as the sunlight catches copper strands of hair crowning my daughter’s head as she rounds mile ten. That triumphant grin across her flushed face as she recognizes she has done it!
I miss sitting in a group of fans, pointing out that kid on the court, number nineteen, he’s mine! I miss being with other people, cheering in the stands at a football game, sharing that moment of victory at a gained touchdown, and the camaraderie of defeat after the other team scores two.
Most of all, I long for the time when masks were worn by the athletes only, and getting together and having an experience didn’t begin and end with Zoom!