It all started when we found out the Broncos were going to the Super Bowl.
Or maybe it started last fall when the boys on the street started playing front yard football. It looks a lot like wrestling but there’s a football involved, so they call it football.
They talk a lot of smack about different teams, too, so somewhere along the line–I’m not really sure when or how–my baby boy became a Carolina Panthers/Cam Newton fan.
…..you try to raise em right…..
See, I can smack talk with the best of them.
Last week at our dental appointments, my hygienist friend told Cooter a funny story involving Cam Newton and someone who was a huge Alabama fan. Cooter started talking about Cam even more. His birthday is this week, so I thought it would be fun to get him a t-shirt/jersey. Come to find out there was no such thing anywhere in our town. Each store told me that Corporate hadn’t sent them anything. Well, they just missed out on a huge business opportunity, let me tell you.
Well a shirt sale anyway.
One $2.97 teal blue shirt and a jersey iron-on number and a printable iron-on sheet later, and we were set. I found out that Cam Newton’s jersey number is 1, and we made it happen. I might not be a Panthers fan, but I am a Cooter fan, and I like to make him smile.
Aub and I stayed up late Saturday night creating the shirt, and Cooter was quite happy with it on Sunday. We had a good day, teasing each other back and forth–him in his Cam Newton shirt and me in the Manning jersey the Fella got me a couple of years back.
The game was fun for me, not so much for my little heartbroken guy which made it not so fun for me in the end. The outcome made me happy in the moment, but seeing my son heartbroken and melting down–I would have done anything to change that. That kind of thing stays with you.
Today there has been all kinds of drama on social media about an interview Cam Newton gave after the game. People have pointed fingers and said what a bad sport and example he is for his young fans. A bad sport.
Who does that? Who sticks a microphone in front of someone whose heart has just been broken? Whose dream has been crushed? Who gave it his all and it still wasn’t enough? WHO EVEN WANTS TO SEE SUCH AN INTERVIEW?
I watched the little clip of him walking out. The first thing that came to mind was my Mama’s words she said to us over and over through the years:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
The truth of the matter is that I teach my children to do exactly what Cam did. If you can’t say something kind–and I do not fault Cam Newton for not having any “It was an honor just being nominated” words–then WALK AWAY. Don’t let it escalate to where you are really out of control.
Just a little while ago, I saw a story that apparently a Broncos player was being interviewed within earshot of Cam Newton, and Cam overheard the things he was saying disparaging the Panthers.
Y’all, my Mama said…..
I would’ve walked away too.
And I’m a Manning fan.
But grace abounds. He’s young, his heart was broken, dreams dashed, and he had believed in himself and his team. Let’s cut him some slack.
To my children if you are reading this–especially Cooter who is probably going to hear some of the folks trashing Cam Newton:
He did the right thing. Instead of blowing up, yelling, throwing things, fussing and saying things he might regret later, he WALKED AWAY. And that is okay. Do that. When things are more than you can handle, walk away and get help.
No one is perfect. Would it have made a lovely story if he’d been very cordial and laughing on this major loss in his career? If he’d been singing the praises of the Broncos and been full of the “we’ll get ’em next year” bravado?
But two thoughts.
First, that would not have been real. Or authentic. I would have called Face Mask on him. Because no way that would have been anything other than putting on a front to cover up all the pain and hurt. He’s a football player, and a good one at that, but he’s not a trained orator, and to expect him to be otherwise is very unfair and unrealistic.
Second, it’s a story we wouldn’t have heard, because the media loves drama. They wouldn’t have commented much on a congenial Cam Newton, because that’s not how they roll. Or they would have because he’s derned if he does, derned if he doesn’t. It’s what they thrive on.
And we encourage it by buying in to the drama and making all the negative comments.
These little people we love, they aren’t just watching Cam Newton and his reaction. They’re also watching us and ours.
Let’s show them what grace and love really look like.
Thanks for listening. And Peyton, if you’re reading, congratulations. I’m happy for you. And Cam, I’m happy for you, too. You have a good career ahead of you, and you didn’t show out in the face of adversity. You walked away from creating a scene and from letting all that mixed up, pent up emotion out in a really bad way. Well done. Thanks for keeping your cool, because, well, Cooter’s a fan.
And I think I am too.
Love to all.