First of all, my parents are amazing. They drove over two hours to see my boys and to watch Tucker play football, then they drove over two hours home.
So tonight was a special game. Tucker was so excited about his Grandma and Pop coming to the game, and he was determined to show them his mad five year old flag football skills.
Of course my parents have heard me brag about how good Tucker is (if you can't brag to the grandparents who can you brag to, right?). So I had to inform them that Tucker usually gets the ball on the fourth down. The coach is great, and he gives everyone an opportunity to run the ball. When they need the first down, Tucker is the go-to guy.
On the first fourth down play of the game, just like I predicted, Tucker got the ball. And just like most times he gets the ball, he broke free of the defense and took off down the field. He was flying.
Then something strange happened. He slowed down - dare I say he trotted on the last 20 yards of the field? To top it off, he stepped across the goal line and immediately out of bounds. He barely made the touchdown.
There was no one around him, no defensive player trying to pull his flag, no pressure. And he cut the corner of the goal line and trotted out of bounds.
Trey commented that he was trying to be cool and cut the corner, but I was not happy. Tucker knows he's good, but acting like he knows he's good is simply unacceptable. This is a team sport, and by golly he's going to play like a member of a team. My radar was on full force and I was watching his every breath.
During the next few plays, our team pulled the flags off the offense like it was the easiest thing they'd ever done. Tucker pulled a few, and he followed his "tackles" with a shout and fist in the air - just like any other professional athlete, you know. Just like he sees on TV.
So now I'm really fired up. Yes, his grandparents were there, but that did not mean he could act like an overpaid NFL starter.
We get the ball back, fourth down comes up again, and Tucker gets the ball. It's the same story as before - he runs full-on, then slows up near the end of the field, and this time steps out of bounds just before the goal line.
Now I'm steaming. My super-powered mom telepathy forced him to look at me as he went passed. I mom-whispered across the field, "You better cut out that show-boating. It just cost you a touchdown." He nodded and kept going.
We scored a couple of more touchdowns and pulled a few more flags, and then halftime was upon us. Tucker came over and grabbed a gatorade. I wasn't surprised to see the coach come jogging over after him. I thought he was about to get a productive little chat about attitude.
"Great job, Tucker. Thanks!" the coach said.
He must have seen the shock on my face because he explained, "I asked Tucker to step out of bounds right before the goal line. It's my best chance to make sure every kid gets a touchdown. He just missed it that first time and scored the touchdown, but then he got it." With a quick pat on Tucker's back, he jogged away.
And thus my coaching ability and mom-sense were thrown out the proverbial window. What I percieved as taunting was actually a way to help out his teammates and do what the coach said to do.
I think he stepped out of bounds two more times in the second half, and I was proud every time. I think Grandma and Pop were impressed, too.