Add Borax to the washing machine and blast everything dry outside in the sun. This is an advantage to living in a hot, dry climate. And while Borax and the sun and a few sprays of Febreeze all help, nothing works perfectly. That smell lingers... And don't even think about the state of the mouth guard. Really, don't let your thoughts go down that germy rabbit hole at all. Nothing good will come of it. Denial is your friend there, for sure.
And the sound. You never get used to the sound when you hear it: that thwacking sound as they block or put someone on the ground. Thankfully you only hear it if you happen to be standing close to them. Most of the time you aren't. But you still see them collide and remember what it sounds like. And of course there's the sense of relief you feel when everyone hops up and trots back to get ready to do it all over again.
Then there's the yelling. And the screaming. And the clanging of the cowbells! Since I have to protect my voice, I try to mostly make noise with my enormous cowbell, but sometimes I can't help myself and yell and scream and even jump up and down in the bleachers. It's just all so exciting and so much fun, watching them with my friends, feeling communal anxiety frequently, and then euphoria when the clock ticks down and they've won. There are no bigger fans than us!
I'm a football mom.
My son is about to play in the first game of his high school senior season. He's been playing football since he was in 5th grade. He's an offensive lineman.
All of this is surprising in various ways. First of all, I'm not a large person. But my son is. He inherited all of the big genes from my husband's Scandinavian roots. He was over 10 pounds when he was born and has stayed above the growth curve ever since. I hear "How big is his dad?" a lot. And yeah, my husband isn't small, but our son is bigger.
It's also surprising because I'm a feminist, have a science degree, am not a competitive person, and am a worrier. None of this really goes along with either the long-held stereotypes about football itself, or the important concerns many have about its safety.
I'm also an overthinker, so let me tell you, I've given all of this a lot of thought. And now I'm going to write about it.
Follow along if you'd like. It should be a great season!