This year Robert has a new classmate, Sean, who knows an awful lot about football. He throws and catches. He runs and tackles. He kicks. He knows that when the defense stacks the box on third and short, you can line up heavy left, call a play-action fullback dive, and throw a quick out to your right slotback. He and Robert were recently part of a makeshift game of three-on-three, and Robert wasn't much of an asset. He kind of ran sideways a lot, and bumped into other kids, and yelled "TOUCHDOWN" without much knowledge of how one actually comes into being.
I like football. Not in the strip-down, paint-your-gut, freeze-your-nipples-off sort of way, but my pulse does tend to quicken on Sunday afternoons. Robert and I have watched a few games, and we've had a few catches, but he's never really taken to it. He throws OK, but balls tend to clang off his head and chest. So after a few tosses he usually gets bored and runs off to dig a hole in something.
I know I shouldn't care whether Robert is much of a football fan. But part of me wants him at least to be aware, just because boys who know about football have an easier time than those who don't. And besides, what father hasn't at least contemplated the idea of leaping to his feet after his son makes a great play and yelling "That's my BOY!" ?
As always, there is solace in candy.
Earlier this week, Robert proudly possessed two Tootsie Rolls (one for him, one for TwoBert) when Moxie took the boys to the bathroom at a Large Book Retailer. After they washed up, Robert decided to unwrap his Tootsie Roll, but with predictable zeal he ripped too quickly, and it fell to the floor. This being a public, urban bathroom (where the five-second rule works in reverse and food is rendered inedible five seconds before it hits the ground), the candy was a goner before it left his hand.
Moxie told him to throw it away and turned to see to TwoBert, who was probably putting his hands in something nasty. She heard Robert grunting behind her and turned to find him trying to break the other Tootsie Roll in half. Moxie suggested that he bite it, and after he did he gave the bigger piece to his little brother.
Robert's depth perception might be crappy and he might not know a wingback from a wideout, but he's growing into a real mensch.
That's my boy.