Thursday, October 25, 2007

About the weather

Well, I'm not feeling my best as of late.

I feel like I'm going to throw up most of the time. I want a coffee, the smell sickens me. I'm hungry, the sight of food sickens me. Driving in the car makes me sleepy and nauseated and the minute I get home from work I lie down on the bed and pass right the hell out and sleep until the following morning.

I hate feeling exhausted and not really having a reason for it. It isn't like I'm working 90 hour days. Everything is at balance between work, getting the kids around, football, homework, housework (well, I could be doing better with that but I hate it). I wish I felt more lively and less like a slug. This is the time of year where one's heart soars with all the color and changes. Seasonal Affectual Disorder isn't something I experience in October and November. That's reserved exclusively for Smarch. Stupid Smarch. I just feel like I need to wake up and everything will be much better.

We did a lot of hiking and walking last weekend and it just drained me. Normally it would rejuvenate me, make me feel more alive. But it just made me want to nap.

I hope this isn't what it feels like to be 70. Because here I am at 40 feeling this, I can hardly imagine what 70 is going to feel like... feh!

It could just be the weirdness of the weather. For the past couple of weeks we've had only one or two cold days. Today is dawning rather chilly, but for the most part it is in the 60s and 70s and we're sleeping with the windows open and a light blanket most nights. Very unusual for this time of the year in these parts. It's nice though, to not have to bundle up or find a jacket or worry about Geoff freezing his ass off on the football field (since last posting, they tied again in another very exciting game...).

hiker - redGetting out and leaf peeping has been nice. As mentioned we did some hiking and got the dogs out for a good swim or two both on Saturday and Sunday.

I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately, just not interested (part of that grand malaise thing I'm experiencing) so it was nice to get out with the camera and pop a couple of leafy shots with running dogs and sunshine. The pictures are up in Flickr if you want to go see. Click on the hiker and you'll go to the photo stream. There are some good ones of the dogs, and foliage, and hills and barns and junk.

We also found a letterbox quite by accident.

It was exposed and basically right out on the trail. We signed the logbook, and leafed through and enjoyed looking at all the stamps... and then rehid the box a lot more carefully. I'm not sure if the last finders just didn't do a good job of hiding or if a critter pulled it out to investigate, but it was a cool find regardless.

We've never found a letterbox that wasn't a geocache hybrid, so that was kind of neat.

This weekend should prove interesting. There is a geocaching meet-n-greet in Lynnfield on Friday that the Cool Librarian is coming up from Rhode Island to participate in and I'm all "hell yeah!" about it.

But Geoff has a scheduling conflict and I'm going to have to try and figure out a way to do both, or just the one I want to do, or meet up with the aforementioned Cool Librarian after Geoff's thing.

We'll see how the cards fall on that one. It all could also hinge on whether or not Doug is up for doing anything. He is equally full of the malaise as I.

Saturday is the Cub Scouts Halloween party, which always proves to be a wicked good time. I got sucked into, I mean, I willingly volunteered my time in the Haunted Hallway, which is the full run of the basement in the church where our Pack has their headquarters.

Geoff feels he's getting too old for the games and stations and silliness, so when the opportunity presented itself for him to volunteer, well... I just figured I ought to as well. I'm going to be a cauldron-stirring witch spewing lines from the Weird Sisters in Macbeth. Better brush up my Elizabethan speech. That oughta scare the crap out of any of the little guys! Mwah ha ha ha ha!

Alright, enough boring you to death. I don't have much else to say so I'll try and be a little more interesting after this weekend with some tales of fun adventure, geocaching meetup thingies and scaring Tiger and Wolf cubs out of their cotton pickin' little minds.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Manny Being Right

"Why should we panic? We've got a great team. ... It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world.
-Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox

I've had to put writing on the backburner for a few days, and there was a lot to write about. And I'm glad I actually held my tongue (fingers?) because I was able to calm myself down and get perspective on something that I'll write about later.

In the meantime, I wanted to talk about Manny Ramirez and the above quote.

There are a lot of pundits and fans who are really pissed off at Manny for saying that if they don't win, who cares, it isn't the end of the world. There are a lot of people pissed at him, because he makes a shit ton of money and he should have a more go get'em, let's win attitude.

But as a mom who recently watched her son exhibit the WORST case of bad sportsmanship ever, I'd like to take a second and thank Mr. Ramirez for putting things in perspective.

It is not the end of the world if they lose.
It is not the end of the universe, the end of all existence as we know it.
It is not the end of the Red Sox, or your life.
It is just a game.

My son lost his fucking MIND when his team lost for the first time. It took DAYS for us to get it through his head that he didn't suck, his team didn't suck, the coaches didn't suck. It was and is just a game. Days of discussion, debate and virtual therapy to teach the kid that it is just a game and there is always next week. It is just a season, and there is always next game if you are in the middle of a season, and next year if you've made it to the playoffs...

The quote above from Manny is 100% right, and it is what we try and teach kids like Geoff right from the start when they are learning the ins and outs of team sports. I think Manny may have come off as not caring, but in reality, dude is coming off as someone grounded in reality. And that is what matters. Not crying on TV like LaDanian Tomlinson a few weeks ago when the Chargers lost. He'll give it his all, for sure, but in the end...

it isn't the end of the world.

While I personally applaud Manny, others are freaking the motherfuck right OUT over his statement.

I'm really tired of the sentiment of fans that athletes OWE them the victory. The other day Tim Wakefield was virtually run out of town on a rail because his pitching performance was the epitome of suck. I think statistically, he was the 2nd winningest pitcher on the team this past year and without him, they probably would not even BE in the playoffs facing possible elimination this evening.

Manny has the right attitude. It's just a game, not the end of the world. I think that it may have come out of his mouth a little awkwardly because the man doesn't have the greatest grip or command of the English language sometimes.

His heart is in the right place, his mind is in the right place, and I think if more people just recognized it as just a game and not the mandatory sacrifice of everyone's first born child when the home team loses, life would be a lot easier.

And if anything matters, I hope his momma recognizes that her son has the right attitude.

Disappointment when they lose is to be expected. But you, accountant guy at some firm in Brockton... you, some marina worker in Beverly... you, some secretary for a law firm in Boston, you public safety officer in Worcester... you aren't playing, getting paid, winning or losing.

It's no skin off your nose if they lose.

It is fine.

You'll live.

You'll survive.

And next year if you are a true fan, really truthfully a fan, you'll be right back out routing for the home team with your crackerjacks and peanuts (barring any sort of bad allergy you might have).

I think if people got as outraged about Darfur as they are about some overpaid sports guy, I think the world would be a much better place.

That said -- good luck to the Sox. I remember what it was like when they never won shit and never made it out of the gutter, much less to the ALCS where they lost or won or anything... let that just be a sobering reminder to people. It could be worse.

And on that note, Manny being right, Manny being Manny, Manny being a jerk, however you perceive Manny, please know that it is just a game and for crikey chrissakes, let it go.

That is all.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Camping in Vermont

Doug and Geoff left this morning to go up to the not-too-far-away Boy/Cub Scout camp for an overnight. I'm slightly jealous.

coffee and fireIt has been just about 2 years since we last went camping as a family. Long time readers know, I love me some camping.

September 2005 brought us to central Vermont for a memorable and beautiful weekend at Allis State Park. Highly recommend a visit there if you go up that way.

Then, we bought this house and got busy with all that that implies. Then, we traded in the mighty pick-up-truck-of-death, which could carry all our gear and all our dogs, and bought a Subaru. It's nice, but four large humans, three dogs, and all that gear... well. That just doesn't really work for me or anyone else with common sense.

Top it off with the collective feeling amongst the parents that ... meh. We used to do a lot of camping because, as Doug puts it, he has a "primal need to burn things." And now that he's got a woodstove and can burn things inside his very own house, well then... who needs to go through the trouble of packing up a bazillion things to go camping.

Such a philosophy will end up causing a 2 year gap in what was a very favorite hobby.

Geoff started this summer saying "we need to go camping at least once." And before we knew it, it was time for school to start. He bemoaned the fact that we didn't do anything. So when I told him he had this to look forward to, he brightened up and got so excited. Marked his calendar. Talked about it for days. And then football started and he promptly forgot about this weekend.

See what happens when you get busy and don't obsess over things?

I reminded him yesterday evening and he got to planning and organizing and looking for the gear. And when I got home from work, I started getting them both ready.

Doug had been watching the forecast all week and was moaning at the fact it was supposed to rain today. Well, God blessed his grumpy and recalcitrant spirit with a beautiful, sterling, text book Autumn sunny day, with no chance of rain at all for the next 48 hours. Geoff asked me what I was doing and why I was looking for tent pegs. I reminded him and he set to helping. Before I knew it, we were organized, packed, wrapped up and they were getting in the car to leave.

"You know, you could come too," Doug said to me.

He's right, but there were three things holding me back from this trip...

1. I didn't feel comfortable leaving Jess alone for an overnight. She's old enough, and all she'll do is watch TV (DVRed episodes of House, Futurama, and Avatar, I'm sure) and eat food and goof off on the PC. But she is just 15 and I really wasn't comfortable leaving her alone for the night.

2. Cateringman. I have a meeting with him tomorrow at 10am, and have to finish his brochures so we can get them proofread, finalized and printed for a bridal show he's going to in two weeks. They are almost done -- I just have to reformat and rearrange some photos and we're all set. But if I went camping, I'd not be able to do that.

3. It's daddy/boy time in my opinion. See, I've gone to cub scouts for what, four years now... four. Yeah. And I've gone to every meeting. And I've done all the support work for Geoff. He wants to continue on to Boy Scouts in March, and once that happens, the moms usually back off and the dads step in and do the support stuff.

Our neighbor across the way is in his first year of Boy Scouting, and so far his dad has gone on every trip, every project, every everything. Mom has stayed home. She says she misses it, but it is so cool and important for the dads to now step up with the boys. And I'm trying to get Doug ready for that.

Geoff really loves scouting. And while he's not really aware that I see it, Doug kind of wrinkles his nose. Doug dropped out after the Webelos years, and I think some of it had to do with his lack of interest and some with his father's lack of interest.

Because Geoff does nothing else, I want to encourage him in this. I do not want Geoff to fail, because to be honest... he isn't interested in anything else aside from Football. It isn't like other kids who have ten different extracurricular activities that they do every day and all weekend and four seasons of the year. He likes scouting. He likes the whole format. He loves the outdoors. He needs to toughen up a little bit, and hopefully Dad will help him with that, and he won't drop out after the first couple of months in the next program.

So I packed them off and sent them away this morning, and immediately got a phone call from a good friend who is in a bad way. He and I spent about 2 hours talking. I feel so deeply for him and want to help him but there is nothing I can do except provide love, care and comfort. I was so sad when I got off the phone with him, but part of me hopes that I took away some sadness and gave him some thought and perspective that he can act on. Kind of like a karma swap -- I'll give you some good mojo and take some bad and carry it for a minute, okay buddy?

Anyway -- Doug and Geoff arrived back at the house at 1:30, not because the camping trip was/is a failure but because we had a football game at 3pm. And it was a beautiful day to be out at the gridiron, I must say!

The game didn't get started until almost 3:30, due to some long assed game prior to Geoff's. They were older boys and it was a good game to watch. Our boys tied 6-6 with their opponents, and it was a really good game, too. Lots of action. The last 2 minutes were all our hurry-up offense, and if they'd played like that at the start, they could have blasted the other team out of the water.

But a tie is better than a loss, and it was a good game. I'll take that.

Doug and Geoff brought me home, Geoff got cleaned up and they left. Jess and I went out to dinner where we discussed fundraising for Shakespeare in April and her German Trip in June... what we can do to raise money, not just for her but for the organizations. We have some ideas and it was nice to go out and chat and just have the night to ourselves.

Now I'm home, waiting for Scrabulous challengers to play their moves. Life is good. And while yeah, it would be nice to be camping, tonight I'll get in a queen sized bed and have it all to myself, with Harry Potter and three dogs. I'll feel a little sad for my husband because I could see my damn breath when I came out of the restaurant... but... I know my son is happy. I hope my husband knows it too, and I really hope my son appreciates it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What a victory it was!

Geoff's football team won their first game yesterday, and by their behavior at the end you would have thought they won the Super Bowl.

There are a few boys on our team who are just one man wrecking machines. A danger running and a danger blocking. They're amazing. Our neighbor Will, who Geoff rides to practice with every day, sacked the other team's quarterback in probably the most amazing and cool play I've seen yet this year.

It is funny how yesterday something clicked. No one fumbled, no one made any bad throws into quadruple coverage... They beat an undefeated team, who looked like they were having just an incredibly hard time with everything yesterday. It was amazing to watch.

They celebrated and ran out on the field and jumped on each other, screaming... yelling... cheering... helmets in hand. The coaches corralled them and got them in line to shake with the other team, which they did politely.

After they walked back to our side the boys unleashed. They threw water and ice at each other, dumped water on the coaches' heads and backs, shook up their Gatorade and dumped it on one another and their coaches, cheering, screaming and yelling... fists pumping in the air, smiles everywhere. It honestly looked like they won the Super Bowl down there.

All the parents were cheering, everyone was elated... it was a riot. My face hurt from smiling. The coaches could have gotten pissed but you could see them laughing too... as their own sons were pretty much the ones who started dousing them in the first place. I'm sure they got a talking to after the game in the post-game huddle as they were eating their oranges.

I'm also sure the coaches didn't rip them too hard.

They did great. They played so well. And I'm so happy that all the hard work paid off.

Geoff got to be a "captain" yesterday. They send five kids out to the coin toss and it rotates through the roster. So he was feeling really big and happy yesterday. And that felt nice, I'm sure.

So whew... finally. A win. So they're 1-3-1 for the season... and that's better than a zero starting things off.

As for our little victories, it is three mice down here in the old house.

Two really huge ones and a small one this morning up in the attic. Doug forgot to set the traps on Friday night so I bet we could have had four. I think all winter long this will continue.

My buddy Aaron and I were talking on the phone the other day about the mice, and he was telling me that he has friends who have three guinea pigs who "free range" in their house. They trained them to use a litterbox, and the pigs do their things there... and I thought it was funny that here we are killing rodents while in another house the rodents run free.

This gave us a really huge laugh for some reason.

I will keep you posted on the body count. I feel so gangsta.

Jess went to a 16th birthday party last night and slept at a friend's house. All her friends start switching over to the magic of 16 this year. There is one girl who is 2 months younger than Jess, and she brings up the tail end of the age change. Last night she was mopey because "not only am I the shortest, I'm also the last one who will turn 16, in AUGUST of NEXT YEAR! Almost a whole year from now!"

She was actually pissed about it. "I just turned 15 and now everyone turns 16!"

What can you do? I tried to talk to her, but you know at this age there's no counting for nothing when trying to talk sense into a pissed off semi-goth 15 year old girl. So I left it and walked away laughing. I have to go get Jess at some point today.

I was hoping to hear from my old roommate from college, who came out here for homecoming this weekend.

Last night they called at 6pm and said they were going to dinner with a bunch of people, and wanted to know if we wanted to join. Kind of short notice, I wish they'd let me know earlier in the day. I was already in pyjamas, taking Jess to the party, and Doug had taken Geoff out for ice cream to celebrate his great captain/nose tackle/tackle football victory day.

They said they'd call today, but so far no sign of them.

We never go to homecoming. It is always such a mess, I am not interested in seeing the soccer game (we didn't have football, and still don't), and it just isn't appealing to me to go stand around and wait to get noticed by an old friend, or to scan the crowd without ceasing, looking for that one person you long to see and never finding him or her.

To be completely honest, I have no real desire to go back to my college. I love the education I received, loved the experience, but really ... meh. Have no burning ken to be back there. I feel really detached from the whole Evangelical Church kind of scene.

I love the Lord, I just don't really groove with the whole holier than the rest of the planet American Christianity thing.

When I was a student there, I was often the girl in the sweatpants, rock and roll t-shirt she'd slept in the night before, dirty hair pulled up in a pony tail and stuffed under a baseball hat. I'd have my 20 ounce cup of coffee, and be sitting in the back row of the philosophy of education class, which I took as an elective because I liked the prof. All the other people in the class were education majors, primarily really nice, pretty Christian Girls. They were the types who woke up at 5am, did their daily devotionals, their runs on the treadmill, and their hair... and were at the 8am class ten minutes early looking like they were ready to go teach... well groomed, well dressed, well coifed.

I was Ally Sheedy to their Molly Ringwald (Breakfast Club reference for those who don't get it). And I was okay with that. I got the A in the class by doing a project on faith and fatherhood as explained by comedian Bill Cosby, where they pulled some great Christian Philosopher up and got a B.

And I got stared down the nose at. I got "But Bill Cosby isn't a Christian Philosopher! She can't get an A for that?!" Yes I can, because I integrated faith in learning with Pop Culture. You didn't think outside the box, and you pulled the expected. Sorry.

I'm smarter than you. Get over it.

Doug felt the same way when he started a graduate program at Emory University after we got married. He would show up for class ready to argue and discuss and fight and dissect the literature or scripture... and the other people in the class were afraid of him and his passion. They were looking for the three scriptural references that go together with one pop culture reference so they could write a good sermon. Doug wanted to yell and scream about how Emerson is not a Christian Author but is a Pantheist! Discuss! He got that look too. And he ended up quitting the program because the quality of learner wasn't where he was.

I was most comfortable with my friends in the English department, and the theatre kids (even though I never got up on the stage because I was scared out of my cotton picking mind). I keep in touch with a lot of them. I can name you all off here... all weekend long I played Scrabble on line with two of you... far far away from campus.

Homecoming happens in my heart pretty much all the time. Last night I had a lot of good laughs, sent a lot of fake drinks to people on facebook, and just generally am happy and comfortable with the individuals I took away from college who I am in touch with today.

I do with that I'd heard from L and C, perhaps later tonight... who knows. But no matter. I love them. They love me. And even if we don't see each other too much... it is what it is.

Now, if you'll excuse me there is a young man in Bahrain or somewhere like that who I am trying to beat at Scrabble. I'm gonna getcha Russ! Watchout!

Friday, October 05, 2007

nibble, nibble, nibble

Today's entry is about mice. The mice in our house.

Earlier this year I found a sad, strange, tiny little mouse walking around in my kitchen. After I'd housed it, gave it food (which it ate) and water (which it spilled) it died. The same day.

Well, not for nothing, I knew that wasn't a lone, stray, wee one in my house. I figured there were more. And when the nights were getting colder we'd see them.

I was in bed reading on Monday Night. Doug had fallen asleep on the couch watching the Patriots Game. I opted to listen to it on the radio because his couch-hogging and snoring were making my football viewing no fun.

So there I am, reading Order of the Phoenix (for the eighth time I think) and I could hear munching. Loud, vigorous, determined munching. It was coming from the wall between my bedroom and the front stair hallway. I got on my hands and knees and pressed ear against the drywall. The chewing was quick and frantic. I realized it was above me... up closer to the attic. I smacked the wall and it stopped... for a minute.

Damn. We have mice, and they're eating my damn house.

I went up into the attic but could see no sign of a mouse IN the attic... There was a huge crack in the floorboard right above where my bedroom door meets the front stair hall. I placed a large box on top of the opening and shook my fist at it. Take THAT you meeses.

I went back down to my bedroom, and the mice or mouse or meeses were just furiously gnawing to their itty bitty heart's content (or hearts', if there was more than one there). Knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep for the chomping, I turned up the radio and cranked on the fan to drown out the sound. Even with the white noise and the play-by-play covering up the sound, the knowledge that there were vermin chewing on my house prevented me from falling asleep.

Reluctantly, I got out of bed. I went on facebook and stalked some friends, and played TV Trivia, and Scrabulous, and surfed the web for a bit... and at about 2am went back to try and sleep.

The chewing had stopped, and I wondered where the little dickens had gotten himself off to... but I was able to fall asleep rather quickly, and happily. Thank God. Calling in sick the following day because I spent a restless night worrying about vermin would not be something I'd want to do.

First thing in the morning I confronted Doug, who had the day off to take Geoff to a doctor's appointment and attend an IEP meeting in the afternoon. "You need to buy those mousetraps we talked about a few months ago."

"uh. Okay."

And while Amy says she'll send Rocco The Cat From Marblehead (sing it!) over to clean up the mouse problem, I doubt the dogs would welcome him onto Team Way Out Inn and let him do his thing. So the traps will have to do.

Doug put traps all over the house in places that dog noses couldn't reach. Thursday morning, he checked them. One trap was licked clean of its peanut butter. Another was sprung, and flipped over and THEN licked clean of its peanut butter. And another had a dead mouse in it.

One down, however many millions more to go. Gah.

The last time we had mice was when we lived in Marblehead. We had a cat, and then got rid of the cat in exchange for a dog. God love ya, Linus... wherever you are (16 years? most likely dead by now...). We knew that Linus caught and killed mice. Our landlord loved it. He'd leave the basement door open a crack and Linus would do his thing. After Linus' departure, well... no more mousing. We packed up to move in April of 1995 and I flipped the loveseat over and saw that it had absolutely NO stuffing in the bottom... which explained why sitting in it was akin to sitting on the floor. There was mouse poop everywhere under it. Ewww. Not cool.

Next, in Lynn we had some mice. Our dog (the one we traded the cat for) was hiding under the dining table cowering. She had killed a rather large mouse in the middle of the kitchen, and I think she thought we were going to kill her. We didn't... we congratulated her and praised her. I'd never known a dog who could mouse before.

Anyway. One mouse this morning, in the same spot... same size... big. The traps are set and around and waiting. I have a feeling it will be a long autumn filled with nightly dead mice awaiting us in the morning.

My kids have off of school today and Monday. I don't have off from work. I'm jealous. Geoff is going to the Topsfield Fair, I think. Not 100% sure. Gotta get a breakfast into him and get myself to work.

As for yesterday's delurk event... out of 87 hits, I got 18 comments and about 4 were my own. So much for asking you to delurk... Everyone who commented was someone I was already familiar with.

Thank you to those who commented. Bree, stop slobbering on the top of my head. Terroni -- swimming team is also a good way to burn off some of that energy for a kid, get a lot of exercise, and learn a good competitive team sport, if that is available neare you. Mr. N, I can't believe you're having a baby. Hello Sean, waving masculinely. You are truly a manly man, Sir Sean a lot. Shelley, I miss you.

Elizabeth, I won't be at homecoming this year. Rebecca will probably be at homecoming this year, if she doesn't have elevendy weddings to attend this weekend. Heh. My guster girls Sarah and Crystal delurked and said hey - Speaking of babies, Sarah's planning a fun gift for someone having one in January and speaking of weddings, Crystal's planning one herself! Yo! Hey ladies.

I think I know which Dave (I know 3) left the comment and am glad to be a source of (a)musement for his life. Annie comments when she can, and I do so in return... hello Annie. I hope you are having a great day. Abbey needs to blog more, like Shelley does too. I miss you. When's the next BNL concert Ab! Or Guster! It was nice to hear from Amy of the Bad Grooveness. And recently I'd reconnected with KG from college, so thanks for commenting here K. Loving your blog and your photos and I too will not talk about the Red Sox until it is all said and done. Lest I jinx.

Jo, always nice to hear from you. Will you be at the fair? And last but not least Jonathan. Your son's tae kwon do'h teacher is spot on. No "I can't" but "I'll try." And perhaps he'll suck a little less as he goes along and get really good. That's all I can hope.

Did I miss anyone? I hope not.

I commented all over teh intarwebs yesterday. I expected a little more commenting action, but ... you still have time. Comment on yesterday's entry or today's and just let me know who you are!

More later from mouse death central! I gotta get to work!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Football update...

geoff with face paint vs lynnfieldEarlier, I'd mentioned that Geoff didn't lose well. After we got back from New York, the team played a much bigger, much better, much more wealthy and names on the backs of the jerseys super-team from the town where I work.

They were beaten, something like 20 to nothing. But... it was a good game, and while they had their shorts handed to them, they also stopped about four other touchdowns from getting scored, and there were some really good football moves and plays and ... well... yeah. It sucks to lose when you work THAT hard.

Geoff has never played an organized sport. He has never LOST at anything other than Candyland. He's not a good loser, freaking out in a McEnroe-esque fashion when beaten... no matter how well he played.

He's not a good winner either. He taunts, he calls the person he's playing against a loser, he points fingers, he nyeah nyeahs them...

He's a poor sport all around.

I anticipated he'd be upset if they lost, but I didn't anticipate the display we were treated to on that particular day. I ended up on the sideline taking a knee with him away from the rest of the team after the kids shook hands in the line and the coach called for the end of game huddle. Geoff was pissed that they lost, looked like "idiots," said that his team sucked, said all kinds of crap that was just horrifying to me to hear him say... about kids who are his friends, kids who have been kind and supportive to him.

I told him that they lost but it was a good game. Did you see that tackle Nick did to stop that guy from scoring and did you know that tackle set up the next series of plays that the other team STILL didn't score off of. Nick stopped a touchdown, and your team held them back. It could have been a lot better, but it could have been a lot worse, too.

We were leaving and I apologized to one of the coaches. He didn't want to hear it from me and he basically let me have it. Geoff was on the field swearing at the other team, giving them the finger, mouthing off to his team mates... I was appalled. I didn't know he was doing this. The coach told me he expected Geoff to apologize to him and to the team at practice the next day. He also told me he wasn't going to play Geoff again if Geoff couldn't get his temper under control and get a grip.

Well... coach. I agree. But I also think you guys should be working on this with him, not just us.

I don't think the coach realized, and I certainly didn't really take into account, that Geoff's never played an organized team sport before and this was the first time he'd ever lost at something this big.

Aside from Candyland.

All the other boys on the team have played some sort of organized team sport before. Baseball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse. All of them have in the past five years learned to deal with the disappointment of being creamed by the other team, learned to deal with the ambiguousness of a tie, and learned to deal with winning with grace. All the boys on the field that day, except for my son, expressed that they were sad they lost, but said "did you see that throw Danny did? That was awesome!" or "Nick! What a tackle!" They found a little silver lining, and they know they can do better, but I know they walked away with less of a sting because they could see that some good things happened... even with the loss.

I want my son to do that in the future. Teaching him to manage his expectations and his anger... starting right that minute.

It didn't help me that night when I was watching the post-game interviews on ESPN to see Ladanian Tomlinson of the Chargers standing there crying and blaming everyone on earth for his team's loss... I was glad Geoff didn't see that. All day there we are trying to talk him into believing that one should always keep one's chin up and be a gracious winner AND loser... to see this man up there pointing fingers and crying on national TV.

That day and all week following we went over the rules of sportsmanship... that these kids are his friends, they're in it together. The other team are just boys too... this is not a war. They do not deserve foul language. They do not deserve to be insulted and gestured at profanely. How would HE feel? How would HE like it? He wouldn't, the boy tells us.

Manage your expectations. Go into the game believing you can win, but accepting when it doesn't happen just that way.

Saturday came and we were driving to the game. "What are you guys going to do today?" I asked him.

"We're probably going to lose, and that's okay."

"No. You're going to try your best to win, and if that doesn't happen... that's okay."

"Yeah. There's always next week."

Yes. There is always next week.

They played another better than them team with names on the backs of their jerseys, and Geoff got tackled bad in the last quarter. I saw him fly up in the air, arms akimbo... and the other kid landed on him. He couldn't get up, but inside me I knew he wasn't physically hurt. I think he was surprised and shocked that he got clocked the way he did, and I think his little insides were saying "just lay here like a slug." The coaches and the EMT came out while I sat in the stands saying "come ON. Just get up..."

I knew he wasn't hurt. Everyone else was worried, but I know this boy. My friends Dave and Myra from college were there at the game (they live right near where the game was). I was muttering that he was fine, that he was just shocked and surprised and probably wanted some attention.

They were laughing nervously at my cavalier stance on my injured, prone child surrounded by helpful coaching staff and medical experts.

I recall saying "If he actually IS hurt, I'm going to be embarrassed later..."

After the EMT and his coaches helped him off the field and he got a little round of applause, they gave him an ice pack and sat him on the bench. I said "I'd better go play mommy right now and make sure he's all set," and went down to the field.

"What happened? Are you alright buddy?"

"Yeah. That kid hit me like a freight train. I didn't see it coming. I didn't expect it. He landed on my knee. I'm okay though."

"Well, THAT's good. Do you want your water?" I gave him his water and sat with him for a minute. He was fine, he didn't need mommy. He watched the last couple of minutes of the game, with boys on his team coming over to pat him on the head and back and check on him, and be with him.

I have to say that I'm thoroughly impressed with the boys on his team and how kind and nice I've seen them be to him this entire experience. After his blow up a week ago, one boy was standing near us when I was talking to the coach. I think he may be the coach's son... and the coach was letting me have it about Geoff's profanity on the field. But the boy said "He's doing really well out there though, and he's really good, and he tries really hard." Again, they see the silver lining. I thanked him and wanted to cry. Thank you for noticing that he cares and loves this...

After the game, in which they lost 22-0, Geoff got up off the bench to go shake hands. The coaches told him to stay put, but he set down his ice pack and shook them off, and went out and shook hands.

"We lost, but there's always next week, and I have to get better at getting hit like that."

That's what he walked away with. Thank God.

Anyway... I'm hoping they win at least one game. They are 0-3-1 for the season so far, and it would be nice to have something other than that zero in the win column. They work so hard. And I want Geoff to see what it feels like to win.

And with this group of kids, if they actually DO win a game, they are going to celebrate like they won the super bowl... I can feel it. They'll be really happy. And they'll earn that joy. And I'm looking forward to seeing that.