Monday, April 5, 2010

In the Land of Lacrosse

I decided to stay and watch my son's lacrosse practice on Easter Monday, a day I took off from work. I know absolutely nothing about the game except what he has taught me: it originated with the Native Americans who would play the game as part of religious rituals as well as prepare for war. And it is a full body contact sport.

Great! Like that's just what I needed to see. My barely-ninety-pound teenager getting slammed and knocked all over the field. Nurse mom is kicked into first gear and I have the first aid kit fully stocked and ready to go. Just in case. Not to mention the mini cooler with plenty of drinks to keep him hydrated.

As I sit and watch my slender-framed and underweight son warm up and practice drills with his team, I can only smile and be proud that he chose a sport that is not dominated by our race. It is evident as I am the only African American mother on the field, and I am not met with such friendly faces, as I smile and set up my space to get comfortable for the next two hours. I stick out like a sore thumb, and I feel that my son will feel it, too. I am about as lost in this game of lacrosse as a Chinese man at a Ludacris concert. (Or about as lost as I was when learning how to use chopsticks for the first time!)

But, this isn't about me or my uncertainty and insecurity of this game that my son loves so much. I recall his words to me when I asked him why would he want to play a game that not many of his friends play. "Mom, I don't wanna play what people expect me to play. I like being different."

I have long recognized the difference in my son as he has grown and matured over the years. And I have not always been accepting of it as I struggled with the challenges that he placed upon me. My first challenge was his choice to leave a private school and join the ranks of his fellow neighborhood friends and go to public school.
I recall what he said to me, "I just wanna be normal and ride the school bus like the other kids." I battled with the decision for weeks, and after much prayer and many talks with my sister, dad, and close friends, I agreed to let Jordan enter public school.

And it still isn't about me.

So, as I sit in my folding chair off to the side, with my runny nose and itchy, watery eyes due to my allergies, I can only smile. It is funny what we sacrifice for our children. I sneeze, blow my nose, and continue to look on as my son keeps up with his teammates.

Jordan is "having the most fun playing lacrosse than any other sport I have ever played." His role models are none other than Jim Brown and Ernie Davis.

They made history.

And so will Jordan.