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.


  1. Ananda LeekeApril 06, 2010

    What a fabulous story. Rock on Jordan! Thanks Karen for sharing this story. It is a lesson in keeping ourselves open to new experiences ... different is good.

  2. I completely understand what you mean. You may stick out but you are proudly sticking out. All Jordan wanted was to see you in the stands. You made his day! The joys of motherhood!!