|My Jersey as Mrs. Carlson in '07|
Braden did watch the Superbowl last year. Although the Patriots weren't playing, he spent most of the game rooting for the Jets. No, they weren't playing either, but they did play the Patriots during the playoffs, and Braden got a kick out of the "Let's go Jets!" chant, their green jerseys (green is his favorite color), and the fact that his chanting seemed to push my buttons. So, for all those reasons, at every football (basketball, baseball, and hockey) game from that point forward, he took it upon himself to root for the Jets, even when they weren't playing.
This year, as the Patriots were getting closer to the Superbowl, we talked a lot about "OUR favorite" team and rooting for them during the Superbowl. Nevertheless, I caught myself holding my breath several times imagining he'd suddenly remember the old chant and begin taunting me with it. Fortunately, he didn't, and we proudly rooted for the Patriots!
Since he's older now and more into sports, the game was a lot more fun to watch through his eyes. Yes, as a typical three year-old, he spent most of the game asking questions; lots of them: "When is football starting?" (as the announcers talked during the pre-game), "What are they doing?" (as they huddled together for the coin toss), "Why are they running?" (as they began to play the game), "Why did they knock them down?" (as the teams tackled one another), "Why didn't he catch the ball?" (as the receivers fumbled and dropped the ball on one too many occasions), "Why do they have numbers?" (as he noticed Tom Brady's #12 on the jersey I had just won – YAY!) and so on.
As the game progressed, he seemed to understand more and more of what was happening, and gradually, the questions lessened. He was hooked! He was a football fan! He was watching football!
Watching from the sidelines, I was amazed at how his mind captured each play, mimicked what he saw, and how he was transforming into a real fan; not because his Mom or Dad told him who to root for, but because he understood the game and wanted to see how it played out.
As we arrived home, my son announced that he wanted to be a football player when he "gets bigger" and that his number will be 80 - 20. When I told him he could only have a two-digit number, he settled on 97. So look out for Carlson #97 playing for the Patriots during Superbowl LXVIII.
Mom and Dad will definitely be on the sidelines cheering as we remember Superbowl XLVI and how you fell in love with the game.