Saturday, February 26, 2005

Boys to Men.

Tonight I watched the football movie "Friday Night Lights." If you're not familiar with it, it is a true story about an Odessa high school football team who, against all odds, made it to the State Championship played at the Astrodome in 1988. Yeah, I know it is an old movie, but I always get around to watching these things a couple of years later. I don't have the time or the desire to go to the movies. I like the comfort of my big couch, my big screen, and that pause button. Anyway, this isn't a review of the movie. (which is pretty good, and very accurate about the football madness of Texas) It really made me think about how completely different men are to women (I know, duh) and made me realize a bit how so many men turn out the way they do.

Now this isn't guy bashing, just stick with me here. My brothers were pretty good athletes as was I. Baseball was their game and basketball was mine. I also cheered and played softball and track, but I loved basketball most of all. My husband's high school football team won their state championship in Mississippi back in 1978, I believe. My daughter is an unbelievable basketball player. But being the popular cheerleader was more important, so she chose that instead in high school since they don't let the girls do both. (completely unfair, but that is another post) My other two boys played, but just for the fun of it. Didn't really get into into it or have the passion for it. But still I think they were affected by the coaches and their love of the game. It seems all guys have a deep affection or hatred for their high school coaches. After watching this movie I can see why.

In all the years I played sports I never remember a coach yelling in my face. I never remember a parent going ballistic over a call. But my brothers and my sons? Well, that is a whole different ballgame (excuse the pun) Yelling and parental stupidity is out of control. The part in the movie that really got to me was when the character played by Tim McGraw (an abusive father who had won his high school championship and whose son was playing in this one) told his son that he was not getting it. He didn't understand that this was the best life was ever going to be. After that it's nothing. One of the local ummm...rednecks told one of the football players, "after this there aint nothing but babies and memories."

Well how sad and pathetic is that? Life holds so many wonderful things for you. You're washed up at 17? No. No. No. First of all, I see a competitiveness in men that I do not see in women. Not even close. The article that got around a few days ago about there not being as many women bloggers because we don't like to argue or something like that. It is true that in general, women do not like conflict. Men, sometimes thrive on it.

This testorone filled movie got me to thinking how hard it is for men and women to understand each other. Even for men who never played sports have that same competitive spirit. And to be honest, in my opinion, sports brings out the worst in guys. I know , I know, it is all about team playing, about winning, about trying your hardest....blah, blah, blah. But I see egos the same size as their trucks and guys who think so much of themselves they don't seem to have much left over to think much of women. Jose Conseco's latest book is being blasted by players over his allegations of steroid use, not much is being said about his allegations of the cheating and whoring the players did. Boys will be boys. Right?


I blogged once on my experience with dating athletes, but I can't find it. Suffice it to say I knew from the start that I was never going to be first in their lives. The sport would always be, so those relationships didn't last long, believe me. So when 2 of my sons didn't show much interest in it, that was fine with me. There doesn't seem to be the same problem in girl's sports so my daughter being a great athlete has been fine also. But now I have my youngest son, who at 8 yrs old has already won 2 MVP awards for his teams on baseball and basketball and he didn't start playing until he was 6. (it is a shame that in Texas they start the teams at 3, yes I said 3.) Anyway, he is playing on a select baseball team now that he was asked to be on. Another one asked him, but it was a traveling team and we said no. I can hardly believe I have to make these decisions at eight! He is playing football now and is the quarterback even though he has never played before. He is a natural athlete, no doubt. I don't mean to sound like I am bragging. I know who has talent and who doesn't. I have two that do and two that don't. Not only does my son have talent, but he has passion for it. Since he was 6 he watched ESPN like most kids watch cartoons. He never plays video games, he is too busy playing football or basketball outside with his friends. My oldest son built his own computer from scratch, my youngest has never even looked at the computer. But now I worry. Is this what I want for the sweetest of my children? He was born with a generous soul and a golden heart. A sweeter kid you will not find anywhere. Do I want him going into a sport where a coach yells in your face all day? Where your told that winning is everything and this is the best time of your life? What if he show true promise? I don't even like the idea of him playing high school football, much less college.

It is like being a movie star. It looks glamorous and wonderful until you realize they can't stay married, they hardly know their children, and they cheat and do drugs and the Hollywood culture is horrible. I know there are exceptions, but you KNOW that is the rule. Same with athletes.

If you played high school or college sports or beyond and you think that that was the best thing that ever happened to you, then you are missing out on what it is really important and best in life.

Like the guy in the movie said about his HS state championship, "there aint nothing but babies and memories after that." Like it was a bad thing. If the miracle of your child is not enough to make you realize that THAT overshadows any stupid touchdown or winning championship, then I feel sorry for you.

A guy said to me one time after he had had a wild young life and married and settled down, "Remember the line in the John Mellencamp song that said 'life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.'? That is how I feel."

I just felt so sorry for him. I felt like shaking him and telling to wake up and look around. Life is wonderful. Every single day is a gift. A child's good morning kiss, a lazy summer day, a baby's 1st step, and swimming in the salty ocean. These are the things of life that can bring us the joy of living, the joy that feeds our souls.

There may not be crowds cheering us. There may not be trophies or spotlights, but there is a whole world out there waiting for us every day. Perhaps some men see themselves as just going through the motions, thankful to have had a little fun. Maybe that explains a lot about them.

Most women I know, even if they don't truly appreciate this miracle of life we are given, they at least understand the fulfillment of giving of themselves. A natural instinct of nurturing that we have, I believe.

So what is my point? I use to say that I would never understand men. Even after a dad and two brothers, a husband and 3 boys. But now I may have an inkling. Funny how some stupid movie can open a bit of a window on something you never understood before. I think men look beyond themselves to feel success and women look at the here and now. (A little profound thought from the mind of Righwingsparkle) And my 2nd point is I am not sure I want my youngest to go this route. And I'm not sure there is much I can do about it. I guess I will wait and see what the years bring.

Update: One of my sweet commenters found my other post on Athletes that I couldn't find. It was written in Nov. after the Pistons/Pacers big fight. If you want to read it. Go here.