“You got this! Come on Knights! Let’s go #86! I see you #77! Defense! Nice Kill!”
All words I have shouted from the stands cheering on my kids. I like to think of myself as their number one fan, along with PapaBear but he tends to watch with a little more composure than me. I’ve stood and shaken a cow bell loud and proud. I have fallen off of a chair next to the volleyball court cheering on my daughter. As she approached the net for a smashing kill I bucked in my seat and fell backward. I am GrizzlyBearMa fan of all fans when my kids are on the field, on the court, in a pool, on a stage, wherever they are playing their little hearts out doing what they love. I am there proudly cheering when they do well, and feeling their pain of their losses. Soccer, baseball, football, swim team, basketball, volleyball, unicycling, marching band, hip hop dance, track, rock-cliimbing, triathlon…my family is full of active athletes and I have been there to shuttle them to practice, to nourish them beforehand, to root for them loudly, and to shower them with non-bias mother love and praise afterwards.
Why do I write about this today? It is the start of pre-season football for my two younger sons. One in college and one in high school. Both have a grueling schedule of practices over the next few weeks in preparation for the start of their seasons. I cannot imagine what goes on in their minds in anticipation of this, as I did not play football myself. But I do know what is stirring inside of me, that GrizzlyBearMa fan energy. I look at the schedules, I read the write-ups on social media forecasting the game results. I survey my spirit clothing, picking up more black and gold outfits for the Demon Deacon games, and make sure I have my Knights gear washed and ready. I am excited. I love fall! Our weekends until Christmas will be busy but I am savoring it all because I know it is a short window.
The days of attending the games, matches, and events of our children will pass (Like a blink of an eye). It feels like yesterday that we were screaming with excitement in the frigid November air in Wilton, Connecticut, when our sixth grade team won the football championship against New Canaan with one breakaway fifty yard touchdown by my 12 year old son. Now he is a red shirt junior in college. Like other families, we have ribbons, trophies, team pictures, and videos from it all. As a parent we carry special memories close to our heart: car rides (where a certain song was played to psyche up the boys for the game on the way), road trips (volleyball tournaments in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, alone time with my middle-school daughter), meals and snacks (sliced oranges, rice crispy treats, and big breakfasts on game days), and most special to me was simply seeing my child happy doing what they love. Our oldest son rode a giraffe unicycle playing the trombone in a college pep band at basketball games, how can that not make a parent proud?
By the time we are finished cheering on our four children, we may have someone else to root for. Perhaps it will be Koda and Summer representing the GrizzlyBear family. Maybe they will be ready for agility competitions. I can see us there in shirts sporting their numbers and names cheering as they leap over bars, circle around a course of cones, through a long tunnel, and fly into the air to catch a sailing frisbee. “Go Koda! You got this Summer!”