Cam, Cooter, and the Reason I’m a Fan

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.

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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.

Sigh.

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?

Please, people.

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?

Maybe.

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.

 

 

THE BIG GAME

Today I went to the grocery store with Cooter, taking only one thing into account.

We needed food.

The three things I didn’t take into account were:

1–It’s Saturday.

2–It’s the day before SUPER BOWL SUNDAY. (that was me yelling with the special effect echo right there, in case you missed it)

3–They were grilling some good smelling ribs outside the grocery store to sell.

So, to say it was crowded would be an understatement.

So I won’t say it.

 

But I will share what Cooter said as we were leaving.  “Mama, this is what you call ‘rush hour.'”

“Really?” I said, holding back my laughter.  “Why?”

“Well, everyone’s getting ready for the BIG GAME.  Am I supposed to watch the BIG GAME?  Have you ever watched the BIG GAME, Mama?  Wait, who’s playing in the BIG GAME?”

(And yes, his voice did boom all announcer-like every time he said those two words.)

“Well, it’s the Seattle Seahawks playing the New England Patriots.”

“Oh well, I’m for the Seattle Seahawks, yes.”

I nodded and said, “Good.”

“Wait, who’s playing the other team?”

I laughed and teasingly said, “The Seahawks are playing the other team.”

He laughed too.  “No Mama, who are the Seahawks playing?”

“The Patriots.  The New England Patriots.”

(And to show you how packed the store was, it took us this entire conversation to get to where we were parked.)

As he got into the car, he said, “Yes, okay no, I don’t think the Patriots need to win.”

“Me either, buddy.”  (Long story, but yeah.)

“You know why?”  he asked me as he buckled himself in.

As I unloaded the cart, I absentmindedly asked, “Why?”

“Because England has no business playing football.  That should definitely NOT be their national sport!”

I laughed out loud and made a mental note to focus on a little more geography in our homeschooling.  SOON.

As I was about to take the cart back to the corral, I heard him say, “You know what should be the national sport for them?  You know what they should be playing instead?”

“No buddy, I don’t.  What?”

“QUIDDITCH!” he yelled, kicking his legs and laughing gleefully.  “QUIDDITCH IS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE PLAYING INSTEAD OF FOOTBALL!”

And so there you have it.  The Zoo Crew’s Super Bowl predictions.  Not only should all balls at the BIG GAME be properly inflated, but there should apparently be three of them.  As in Quidditch.  Because those boys from England, that’s all they should be playing.

Giving thanks for the laughter and wishing you all a SUPER day, whether you watch the game, just the commercials, or nothing at all.  Make it SUPER whatever you do!

Love to all.

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Super Bowl XLI–what a night!

Warning to all the Fellas out there, this one includes what could be misconstrued as  womanly TMI (too much information).  Just so you know. 

Seven years ago I was very pregnant with my little guy.  It was Super Bowl XLI–the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Chicago Bears.  I haven’t really kept up with pro-ball since I was a teenager and my Daddy and I watched the games together every Sunday.  But that year, I was all over the Super Bowl.  Peyton Manning was playing.

I love those Manning boys.  But Peyton especially.  Daddy once said he reminded him of one of my cousins.  I can see it.  I wonder if my cousin can.

A week or so before the Super Bowl, I sent my Fella a link to a newborn-sized Manning jersey.  In the e-mail I wrote, “If the baby comes before the Super Bowl, please order this ASAP.  He or she will wear Peyton Manning’s number during the game!”

Big.  Fan.

But the little guy wasn’t ready yet.  So we gathered at our church Fellowship Hall with friends and watched the game and ate great snacks.  And we laughed and laughed at the commercials.  It was a good night.  The Colts were playing well.

But by half-time I was exhausted.  We loaded up Aub and our Princess and headed to the house.  Once there, we got the girls settled and ready for bed, and I was finishing with cleaning up the kitchen.  We had the game on the TV where I could see it.  I stopped washing dishes during the commercial breaks.  And then this one came on.

I lost it.  LOL?  Yeah.   You’ve never seen it happen with such force as the way that laughter came out of my body that night.  Projectile laughter might have been invented that very night.  I laughed so hard I was crying.

And then…..(step away if you have delicate sensibilities, my friends)…..

I, ummmm, began to wonder if my water had broken.  Really?  Yes.  My water did break with our Princess, and this was a different sensation, but yes.  I wondered.

We’ll leave it at this.  All was well.  No need to rush to the hospital.  But when folks start joking about laughing until they “wet their pants,”  well, I take that a little personally.  Don’t speak of what you know not.  All’s I’m sayin’.  That commercial still tickles my funny bone.  “…..and a chainsaw…..” All these years later.

It was a great night.  Peyton, I mean, the Colts won.  I was happy.  And I had no idea how pregnant I was that night.  That was the last Super Bowl and the last Sunday without my little guy.  Ever.  He was born the following Saturday, over two weeks early.  Healthy and beautiful.  A good week all in all.

Tonight Peyton is playing in the Super Bowl again.  As I write, it’s not looking so good for him and the boys.  Poor Peyton.

But he will bounce back.  He might not play football much longer (I have no idea here–making no predictions), but he will always be adorably funny.  I mean, how could he not be?

Daddy and I loved these commercials:

Besides, if the game doesn’t turn in his favor tonight, there’s always the Double Stuf Racing League.  I’m thinking he could go. All.  The.  Way.

Here’s to the real reason to watch the Super Bowl– the awesome commercials.  Hope it was a projectile laughter kind of night for all of you.