Zane's football team is going to the Lanier Bowl this Saturday. They get to play for a championship!
And it's taken me FAR too long to get excited about this.
I guess maybe we failed to get overly invested in Zane's football team because we've been through this before. We took him to practice. We went to his games. We supported him and his team. But I don't think we were as "into" it as we have been with other teams. Many other teams.
I've been thinking about why our feelings about this team tended to lean toward quiet ambivalence. It's certainly not because we care about Zane any less than his brothers. I think it's about perspective.
Also - probably a good dose of just being busy to the verge of overwhelmed.
But perspective... it's normally a gift. Maybe this time it stopped us from enjoying this experience as much as we should have/could have. As parents of a kindergartner playing tackle football, perspective has taught us that this experience should be fun for the boys and really shouldn't be taken TOO seriously by the parents. Perspective has proven that in 7 years only about a third of these kids will still be playing football. Perspective has proven that the positions played at K/1 seldom dictate where a boy gets to line up in future years. Perspective is very powerful!
So we hung back along the sidelines. We didn't try to "coach" from the bleachers. We didn't nag Zane about trying to DO better, BE better. We just asked him if he was having fun. We celebrated when he celebrated. We told him we were proud - not of his play, but of the fact that he had learned to never give up. Even against the "big kid". (Zane's words.) Also - we celebrated when he learned how to snap his helmet on by himself.
Along the way, as the boys moved through the season, it became clear that they were a decent team - but not great. We've been on better teams. We've been on many that were worse. The boys won enough games that they knew winning was better than losing. But they lost enough to learn those lessons as well. When we moved into the playoffs, I think we were pretty content with being at the end of a successful season. Zane had fun. He said he wanted to play again. And he improved in nearly every area. A victory by any measure.
And then they won the first playoff game. And the boys - and especially OUR boy - were exited. They were thrilled in fact. The experience was bigger to them - to Zane - than we had recognized. Shame on us...
And then they won the second playoff game. They beat an undefeated team stacked full of bigger kids who had beaten us so badly the first time we played that I don't think anyone expected to come out of that playoff game with a victory. They shocked both sidelines. They never gave up on themselves. And boy oh boy - they taught me a lesson in the process.
The perspective that had held us back from, somehow, fully committing to this team, now screamed at me that this was a special time. That the team, our boy, had just learned a lesson about life that can't be overstated. Perspective finally shouted a wake up call that it was time to engage and show our fair-haired boy that we were in this with him. That we cared about what was happening. That win or lose on Saturday, this team has accomplished something that no one will ever be able to take away from them.
So now we are heading back to the Lanier Bowl. This will be only the Bovenizer family's second trip to this league's Championship game. 7 years ago this weekend Spencer won the Lanier Bowl with HIS K/1 team. And after being somewhat ambivalent about this team for the last 4 months, I now find myself super excited for Saturday morning. I can't wait to cheer this little team on. I can't wait to hug my boy after the game and tell him how proud I am of him - win or lose. Go Wolverines! Beat the Bulldogs!
Here's a picture of Zane's team and a fun throwback to the day Spencer became a champion. Hoping for a repeat on Saturday - nearly 7 years to the day!