Friday, August 17, 2007

Can You Suck A Little Less?

Yesterday morning, Geoff couldn't get out of bed. He was stiff and sore and pathetic. Kind of like me after doing 5 geocaches with a mile hike on each. I understood his discomfort and took it easy on him. He was eating breakfast, and said to me "I really sucked yesterday, didn't I?"

"No honey -- I think, as with a lot of things that have taken me by surprise in life, you weren't prepared. You didn't know what to expect yesterday. You didn't work hard all summer to get in shape. You TALKED about it and made lists. But you didn't DO enough to prepare. In theory, you KNEW what was coming, you were just ... surprised at how hard it was.

"You didn't suck. But if you feel you didn't do your best, and you think that means 'I sucked,' then why not try and suck a little less this afternoon. Can you suck a little less?"

"Yeah. I can suck less. I'm so gonna suck a lot less this afternoon."

I think this is my new philosophy in life. Just try and suck LESS. It kind of makes me laugh just thinking it in my head. "Hey Chris, can you do this?"

"Well, I suck at that, but I'll try and suck less and get it done for you."

Sounds brimming with confidence, doesn't it?

Doug dropped Geoff off at practice while I was driving Jess around to Newburyport to go meet some friends of hers for dinner. I got home with a half hour left in the practice so we went over and watched. Geoff was in the thick of things... not wandering around by himself, not lost like Moses in the Wilderness. A good sign.

They were doing a drill where they had to run, as fast as possible, and when the whistle blew they had to drop and roll on their shoulders and jump up and run again. He was doing it... and he wasn't THE last kid in the batch. They ran back and forth across the field, and while he wasn't in the pack of kids, he was way behind, he was running... not strolling behind.

Well alright dude. That's sucking a whole LOT less.

He came to the car and got in, exhausted. I handed him the backup water that I brought and he was so thankful for something cold. He didn't seem like a wilted plant the way he did the day before.

"How'd it go?" Doug asked him.

"Great. We got to crash into these giant people sized things and try and push them over."

"I bet you were good at that," Doug said.

"Oh yeah. I knocked it over a bunch of times and once, I went flying down with it. It was great. My coach said that was great." He was animated and ebullient while talking about this drill, and all the other drills he did. We all were laughing and smiling and it was a good feeling to know he sucked less and had fun doing it.

And I bet his coach sees him plowing into other kids in the future, and knocking THEM down. Compared to the other kids, he's pretty huge... He may make a really good guard on the offensive line. Or at least a really good defensive back, if we can get his speed up.

We'll see.

Last night after dinner Jess called for her ride home so Doug went and got her. Geoff and I were flipping around the dials after "Earl" and came across ESPN's pre-season football.

"Stop here, I need to watch this."

Great. Feh. It is the Dolphins against the Chiefs. I couldn't care LESS if you paid me to, but ... okay. We'll stop.

"I need to work on my fundamentals by watching games. It doesn't matter who is playing," He said to me, sitting up straight, feet on the floor.

Heh. Fundamentals.

So he was full of questions, some of which I was able to answer. What is the line of scrimmage? Why did Damon Huard get a penalty for throwing beyond the line of scrimmage? What is 'in the pocket?'"

He didn't know what first and ten meant, and I know I've explained this one to him before. So we went over the rules. Four tries to go ten yards. If you can't do it in three and you're still far away... punt. That's called "three and out." After the ball is punted, you run like hell down the field and crush the guy who is the punt return dude to stop him from coming towards your goal. That way the other team has to work hard to go farther.

Rob thought it was funny yesterday when he "made the journal" again... and he makes it again today. A banner week for the Rob I guess.

I would publicly like to thank him for teaching me everything I know about football.

We were in the marching band in high school. For away games, they always had a bunch of us go to play fight songs and cheers like "first and ten! first and ten! do it again! do it again!"

We'd sit in the visiting bleachers at away games... a skeleton crew of kids being loud and obnoxious with instruments and a very enthusiastic band teacher... and have a great time.

I knew nothing of football. And so Rob would sit with me and explain what I was seeing... so to this day I thank him for teaching me these things. 23 years later, I'm sitting on the green couch going over all the basic rules with my son. And I think he was impressed that I knew each answer.

And I know a lot of you are not interested in the whole football thing. It's just in the forefront of what is going on in our lives right now... as we transition from what I think was The Summer Of Jessica with all her Shakespeare excitement, to the Autumn of Geoffrey. I bet I'll be talking more about it, so apologies in advance.

Speaking of Jess, today is the last day of camp. Tomorrow and Sunday are the performances. And then we're done. It's kind of weird. I kind of was getting used to the rhythm of how my mornings would flow, and having her in the car with me for an hour each day.

I feel like I could cry, just thinking about how this is the end.

But there will be next summer. For sure. And on that note, I must away! More later!

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