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What Moms Can Learn from Football

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Mom•Logic friend Karyn Bryant's Momologue about how football can teach Moms key life lessons.


"I love football. I love the athleticism and the drama. And I love the fact that, as the saying goes, ‘on any given Sunday’ one team can surprise everyone and beat the guys they were supposed to lose to. But lots of you honestly, truly, couldn’t care less about the game. I understand, sort of. Yes, it can be slow-moving. Yes, it can seem like there’s just a bunch of no-necked guys grunting and smashing into each other. And I get that there’s too much protective gear on, obscuring our view of the running backs and receivers with the incredible physiques. I feel your pain. But as the season begins to wind down, I think there are some important ‘Mom’ lessons to be gleaned from the gladiators of the gridiron.

1. People love to hate winners. I am a New England Patriots fan, and they are currently in first place, thanks to a perfect season so far. (For you non-sports fans, that means they haven’t lost any games.) I grew up in Massachusetts and have rooted for this team for years. But since they are currently 12-0, lately people just love to root against them. Why all the hating? How about we cheer for the fact that these guys are awesome? Isn’t it fun to see athletes at the top of their game? I equate this to that thing we moms sometimes do when we see another mom who has got her act totally together. As we curse ourselves for forgetting to bring an extra juice box or sweater to the park for our dirty little munchkin, we look over to see the mom with a picnic reminiscent of Seurat’s ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ splayed out before her two perfectly coiffed and well behaved children. And we hate her. We think, ‘She must have a full-time nanny.’ ‘Those kids must be on medication to be so mellow.’ ‘There is alien life on Earth!’ But ladies, how about we celebrate her for a change? She went through the trouble of putting together a classy afternoon for her kids. She made the effort—who cares if she had help? She’s not better than you, she’s not judging you (well, if she is, it’s not out loud) and she’s just being the kind of mom she knows how to be. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t the best mom for your kids. Your kids don’t like to sit still! Your kids are spirited little sprites who would rather eat cold hot dogs on the see-saw, anyway. And they like having messy hair—it’s liberating. So how about a big ‘Go on with your bad self, sister-mom’ nod of the head when she looks your way. Winners are people, too. Even if they do live in a dream world.
2. Losers sometimes almost win. The Miami Dolphins’ record this year is the exact opposite of the New England Patriots’. They are winless, with 12 losses. Ouch. But here’s the thing–they don’t always lose that badly. Six times they lost by only three points, which means one little field goal made all the difference. And on a recent Monday, they almost won. The game went deep into the fourth quarter with neither team scoring a single point. (I’m sure you football-hating wives were really rolling your eyes that night.) It was exciting to watch a team working so hard to turn their fate around, and it was actually kind of sad when they lost, by a field goal. So how does this relate to moms? Well how about the woman we judge as we sit having our  'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ while she scrambles to round up her juice-stained crumbcrunchers who haven’t stopped yelling from atop the slide? And who are now about to eat sugary Pop Tarts while going down the slide? We think, ‘Have they never been disciplined? Or introduced to fruit? Or bathed?’ But maybe that day that mom just missed by a tiny little margin. What if the juice box spilled as she was taking the little guy out of the back of the Prius? What if the Pop Tart was a once-a-week treat? And aren’t parks for ‘outdoor voices’ anyway? Let’s lighten up on the ‘losers’ who don’t seem to have it all perfectly together, because sometimes the difference between them and us really isn’t that great. The other day I forgot that swings have momentum even when your kid gets off, and was reminded of that fact when I saw my little peanut get bonked in the head. I’m sure some other mom was probably horrified at my lack of awareness, but I had a black hole in my brain for just one millisecond. It happens. Moms do the best they can. It’s an exhausting job, and we all know that sometimes we just don’t have the mom-mojo. Unfortunately, on those occasions we still have to get on with the business of the day, so please don’t judge if you see us at our humiliating worst. In these moments when I need solace,(and a BIG glass of wine), I like to think of the Miami Dolphins: because when I’m losing, at least it’s not being televised."

Karyn Bryant is a television personality who's hosted shows on networks such as CNN, TNT, VH1, and MTV. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Wade, and their daughter, Aurora.

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
angela January 11, 2008, 12:23 PM

Great take on how moms need to support each other and not be so critical…

I loooove football and have a company that helps women to really understand the sports they watch, etc. But we never really get into some of the basics like, “be nice to your fellow moms”, etc. As for the glass of wine, I’ll take a glass of Cabarnet!

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