While killing time at Fred Meyer waiting for my son to finish scouts, I walked down the sporting goods aisle looking for a youth sized football. I have an old rubber football, but it’s too large for his hands and it’s difficult to grip.
I found a shelf full of footballs of various sizes and decided to buy one that fit his 8-year old hands. It’s shiny black. I can’t tell if it’s rubber or cheap leather. And at eight bucks, a steal.
Yesterday afternoon as I pulled into the driveway, guess who was standing on the steps to greet me with his football in hand? It had been raining all day. The driveway and grass were soaked.
Immediately, I thought of our newly cleaned carpets. Then siblings and neighbors showing up to join in the action. All that mud and grass that finds its way onto children’s feet, faces and hands. I imagined muddy footsteps painting designs on the light colored carpets.
When I purchased the football, I pictured a casual game of catch with my son on a warm sunny day. I’d stand behind my son and show him how to release the football in order to make it spiral. Isn’t that the goal of anyone who picks up a football? The ball doesn’t have to hit its intended target. But it must spiral.
My son’s excitement got to me and I told him I’d change my shoes and return.
I stood in the street and had Lincoln stand on the grass. Even though the grass was wet, the incline would help him get the ball to me. We tossed the football back and forth. Occasionally one of us would miss and the ball would roll into the gutter where water was waiting.
I thought back to the times my father threw the football with me on our front lawn. He could make the ball spiral on every throw. I so badly wanted to be able to throw like he did. My father would stand behind me and show me the proper arm mechanics and ball grip.
As I showed my son the same techniques my father taught me, it brought back a flood of good memories and made me wish he could see my son more often.
“Are you ready to go inside yet. It’s getting cold”, I told him.
“Not until I throw a spiral”, he replied.
So we tossed the ball back and forth for a while longer. As much as I wanted the ball to spiral for him, I didn’t mind that we had more time to spend with each other.
As it was getting late, I took the football and dried it off on my shirt before handing it back.
“We’ll practice tomorrow”, I told him.