Baby Boy was playing football for the barracks (he's in the Army at Fort Wainwright, Alaska presently) when the inevitable occurred; he hurt himself. Every year the boy played ball he broke at least one other person besides himself, but he always managed to hurt himself severely somehow. That's probably why I was encouraged to take out the school's athletic insurance policy! We used it. So, what happened yesterday was not the least bit surprising to me. The soldiers in the barracks next to Reuben's barracks threw out the challenge - football. For a while this summer my son was subjected to playing soccer - like a commoner! Hahahaha, OK, I'm sorry if that offended you, you have to understand our upbringing to appreciate the dislike for fotbol - it's just not FOOTBALL unless the ball itself is elliptical.
The boys were lined up, they were wearing colors, they were wearing smiles, they were calling audibles and doing what they needed to do. No one on the other team realized that the boy I raised was literally taught to play real football by none other than Reggie White, the greatest man to ever step foot on a gridiron. Reuben memorized, passionately, every play he was taught and he utilized the methods and training for many years from the time he was 12 to the day - well, until yesterday! The number 92 carved into my son's arm (tattoo) bears witness to the love he has still for the original "Minister of Defense" as Reggie was called. The call was made, the count was set, up on his heels, through the pall of flesh on three - the boy hit! He hit the line, he blasted through the line, missing the quarterback by a fraction of an inch he continued running straight toward the wide receiver who was making his pattern in good time. Reuben's speed has always carried him just THAT much faster - BAM! They hit. He collided into the intended receiver, but not before his large extended arm slammed toward the ball - knocking it to the ground. The play, the precious play was saved! Go Boy!
OK, the bad news: Reuben was under the boy he tackled, and so was his arm. I'm not sure yet which arm was affected - I got the call in the middle of the night actually as it was being x-rayed at the base hospital. You see, it's a rule in our house, you have to call the mom when you're in the hospital no matter what - I need to know to start praying. There is another rule too: Get the man off the field so you can play ball! I asked the guy that called me on behalf of my broken son, "Did he make the play?" The man laughed. He answered "That is EXACTLY what Reuben said you would say!" I repeated my question - I could tell in his voice that Reuben was going to be OK, the more important questions needed to be asked. Did he make the play? That's one question. Did they get him off the field so they could resume play? Did he cause a time-out unnecessarily? You know, things like that. Well, the Pvt that I was talking to assured me that the U.S. Army didn't just pull my son off the field. The play was made, yes, but the game was stopped due to injury. How very sad. Today we hang our heads in shame. Just kidding. I'm just really glad my baby is OK, or will be. He said he's on really strong drugs at the moment and that now would be a good time to ask him other types of questions that he may answer without regard to consequence. I may do that.
Thank you Army guys for pulling my baby to safety, but try to understand the reasoning behind those questions; a gladiator is only as good as his heart. My son would have wanted the game to continue, I'm sure. There was a time during his high school years, his junior year I believe, that I went to a game and it looked like it might rain. Rain it did! Buckets and buckets full and wind too. Everyone else in the entire stadium ran for cover - I could not. I wasn't allowed to abandon the game - not for rain. If it had begun to lightning I could have left IF they had called the game, but my job was to stand fast and to give the nod and the signal to the boy on the field that I was behind him 100%...150% if possible. I was the ONLY spectator in the stands. The game was resumed and the others returned. My boy's drenched smile shone as proudly for me as mine did for him. I don't leave the man on the field either. I will never leave the man on the field. Pull him off so the others can play ball - I'll love him from wherever I am standing fast. Today it is in Oklahoma. My heart and my prayers are in Alaska.
Hooah! (Thanks Clark for the call)