The Ruby Craftsman
Somewhere in between middle school and my freshman year of high school my Dad came into my room to try to convince me to play football. He had tried before and I always said no, but this time he a pitch that was much more up my alley.
I was terrified of preforming sporting feats in front of crowd or even a with a group of kids my own age. Kids who had been watching football since they could hold their heads up and playing as soon as they could catch a ball. I wasn’t that great at catching ball and hadn’t really cared that much to practice and get better. My Dad’s pitch was he was going to buy my me a new computer. Not just any computer, but an iMac. This brought up an internal conflict within me do I given in to my fears of embarrassment and do what my father is asking me to gain the reward of my very own computer? I wanted to say no right away. I got this feeling that if I said no I would be letting my Dad down, but even more I might be lacking as man if I didn’t. I grew up with this fear ingrained deep within me that real men love to play and watch football and if you don’t you’re a shy worthless nerd. My Dad told me to think about it and I said I would. He then wanted to practice some football moves with me and then rammed himself into me. My Dad is a big man 6 foot something while I was 5 and half feet tall. He plowed into me and things went dark. I guess I was supposed to do something different, the only thing that I would of know how to do better was run.
I get the feeling that my Dad regretted not playing football as a kid because his Dad would not let him. He might of felt his sons would have the opportunity that he was rejected from. In that he may have subconsciously wanted to protect me from those feelings, but instead may have caused a new type of damage.
My oldest brother, my senior by 5 years, was the athletic all-star. He played and was good at soccer, basketball, cross-country, and I’m sure others. He was the outgoing extrovert and I was the outdoor-playing introvert.
When he got married he married into an athletic family. They brought the tradition to our family of Turkey Bowl. On Thanksgiving Day where family and friends, most men, but some daring women, would gather on the football field to play a game, and then later, stuff our faces. Every year they would try to get me to play and I think they got me there twice, but I every time I felt bad about skipping out. Sometimes I had to hide to dodge persistent pestering from my Father and brothers trying to get me to go.
My cousin, in one of the years I got away, sustained a concussion where he had forgot most of the game and had to be reminded for several hours where he was and what happened.
I have based my career on using my mind. I work in the creative space designing and creating computer programs. Had I not listened to the voices inside of me I could of damaged, noticeable or unnoticeable, the very thing that I was made to do. I came to this revelation after watching Concussion (Where an accomplished pathologist uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play).
After breaking up with my first girlfriend, when I was 18, I was distraught. In an attempt to try to gain some confidence about my identity I started hangout with my brother and asked him to tell the rules of football. Then on Sundays I went with him to his in-laws to watch a football game on TV. While I enjoyed some long-awaited bonding time with my brother I found still my interest in football lacking.
I learned many years ago, now, that no one can make me do anything I don’t want to do and no one can make me free ashamed for not liking sports. My interests and my personality are a valuable asset. I do not have to be like anyone else to be accepted. I could save a lot my time and in finding my identity if I had known this before.
I am now a Father of two girls and two boys and as I raise them I plan to give them lots of options to explore their own interests. I do want to challenge them, but I want provide them with fertile soil to grow even if what they grow to be vastly different than who I am. Beside my wife is thankful that I’m not a sports fan.
Don’t get me wrong I do like going on hikes and backpacking and could see myself getting into rock climbing one day, but I’m not too much into competitive sports.