Odd that it is watching, and enjoying, the SuperBowl that has brought me clarity around the concept of the roles we are assigned, and accept. In my family of origin I was given the role of quiet, perfect Murphy, not the brightest, but certainly the sweetest of the bunch. Through that lens I came to see many things about myself, most of which I’ve questioned over the past few years. Tonight though, I’m calling all-out Bullshit!
When I was in 7th grade, I was made captain of the cheerleading team. As we practiced there became a very apparent, major problem – I Knew Nothing About Football. This is a problem because the captain is supposed to decide what cheers to lead. Since I had no idea what a fumble or interception was, what it meant to “push them back” or “drive forward”, this was an impossible job. I went home and explained to my father and sister that I needed to learn the game. They were the sports fan in our family. Dad knew everything there was to know about sports, my sister sat poised at his side, soaking it all in, sharing the experience. My mother waited on them, my brothers and I zoned out. We all played our part.
Did they try to teach me and I didn’t care? Or did they try to teach the “sweet, not so bright, pretty girl”, and she didn’t’ understand? Whatever happened, they never successfully taught me about football.
My cheerleading coach ended up assigned a “co-captain”, a girl who knew what cheers to call. I left the football season believing I was too “girlish”, or perhaps too stupid, to understand football. This story, this script, followed me into motherhood. As each of my boys took a turn at football, my ex took over the “job” of teaching me football. Alas, he failed. Or so I thought. So they thought.
I remember sitting at my boys games and watching a play and, before anyone else told me how to react, I knew what the correct reaction was. I always stopped though. I was the dingbat, the spacey girl, the one more interested in makeup than football. No one could ever teach me the game, because I was incorrigible.
Except…….this is Bullshit!!!
I’m watching the Eagles play the Patriots, and I am heart and soul rooting for the Eagles. This girly girl, who never cared, and certainly could never learn about football, understands everything that is happening. Hmmm…..
The insidious nature of our script, the expectations of others, is suddenly apparent. I can recount those times when I desperately wanted to learn the game, and one of my loved ones attempted to explain it to me. I can recall these times clearly, because I watched them from the outside. I literally dissociated. As soon as the topic of my knowledge of football came up, the real me escaped, and in her place was the girly girl dingbat, who would never understand the game. Really!
Now I sit, by myself, in the comfort of my own new home, and I am free to be my 100% authentic self. There is no need for me to disassociate. There are no expectations, no scripts, no ideals for me to live up to. In fact, I’m sitting here with a broken foot, unable to do much of anything, other than play solitaire and watch this game. And suddenly, I understand everything that’s going on! Wow.
As I think about all those time people tried to teach me about this game, I can see, feel and hear myself disassociating. I am there, with a smile on my face, perhaps a cute ooppss gesture, seemingly paying attention. The voices lecturing me are floating around me, key phrases popping out, like “fumble”, “yards down”, “flag on play”, “hell of a run”. I hear the words as if they are being spoken to me through a bad phone connection, but I’m too embarrassed to say “I can’t hear you”. The words never quite sink in and, at the end of the lecture, I put on my pretty, gracious, dingbat smile and walk away. Seemingly, I’ve learned nothing.
Except, I’ve Learned It All!!!
As I watch this game, with no one watching me, I understand everything that is happening. I see each of those lectures, settled into memory banks of my brain, are now opening up! Like seeds, those lessons have just sprouted. Little bits of knowledge that laid dormant, waiting for today to spring forth and say – “hey gurl, you know this, you like this, you get this“.
So – it’s ME people. Screaming at the TV, scaring my dog and rousing the neighbors, second guessing coaches calls, and all I can say is I Call BullShit – I Love Football!!
PS: The concussions, not so much