There is nothing quite like witnessing a moment of triumph for someone that you love. The triumph can be sizable or it can be simple, but that fleeting moment of triumphant recognition on the face of our children, partners, siblings, friends, etc. – it is almost immeasurable. It is heart-squeezing, chest-warming joy.
I witnessed one of these moments recently, as I stood shivering under my umbrella on the sideline of my son’s first ever flag football game. Let me preface this moment with some background. My son loves sports. He loves playing sports outside with the neighborhood kids, but he’s not a “sporty” kid. He’s not the most athletic, he’s not competitively driven and he doesn’t really thrive on the energy of a team. He’s participated in organized sports since he was little – t-ball, baseball, basketball and most recently, wrestling, but he’s never really found a sport that he was excited to play and driven to improve in. At his request though, we signed him up for flag football for the fall season.
Now, back to shivering on the sideline.
Upon arrival to the first game, my son was feeling a bit nervous (admittedly, so was I). He was excited, and optimistic that he would really enjoy playing flag football, but he was anxious nonetheless. His team is a group of boys who attend school together and who have played several seasons of flag together already, so he was feeling a bit like an outsider as they geared up and started warming up (the coaches and boys were awesome, though, at welcoming him). Once the whistle blew and the game started, I saw that most of the kids on the teach are “sporty” kids. I felt a growing lump of concern in my chest that my son wasn’t going to measure up to the standards of the other kids, and that he would leave the field feeling frustrated and upset.
About halfway through the game, I saw it. My son was about to get his hands on the ball – the other team threw a pretty long pass and my son was setup up to intercept it perfectly. I think I held my breath. “Come on Bud, please catch it,” was racing on repeat through my mind. And you know what? He caught it and he ran like hell down the field before the other team snatched his flag. In the next few seconds of the next play, his team scored a touchdown. Even from the distance of the sidelines, I could see it. The triumphant moment. His face was euphoric. My heart nearly burst.
At the end of the game, in the first team huddle of the season, they handed my son the game ball. When I saw his face, my poor heart nearly burst for a second time. I could see confidence, pride, pure happiness and maybe even a little bit of disbelief flash from cheek to cheek, and I wanted to freeze time in that very moment.
In the car ride home, he didn’t stop talking. He regaled again and again his awesome play and kept asking “can you believe I got the game ball?!” He decidedly announced (repeatedly) “I think I found my sport!” with the biggest, braces-covered grin.
I smiled at him and safely tucked away the rainy game, the awesome interception and the image of his triumphant face into my mind for forever safe keeping – a new core memory in this crazy ride they call motherhood.
Celebrating the triumphs,