Last night Mr. T had his first cross country practice of the season. The assembled runners were hot and sweaty, and while the coach ran the parent meeting, the kids stood off to the side stretching, panting and drinking water. We got the low down on the schedule for the year, team t-shirts and the philosophy of the sport. After the meeting, the middle school runners disappeared without much fanfare or fuss.
Then Mr. T and I took our spots in the concession stand at the middle school football game taking place on the other side of the parking lot. The 7th graders won, Mr. T helped me sell Gatorade and hot dogs and popcorn, the 8th grade game started.
And these girls showed up. Eighth grade girls with signs. Signs made of glitter that said things like "GO TREVOR! #24!" The girls held the signs and cheered for boys who until this point in their lives have only been cheered on by parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. These girls wore make up and struck me as so intentional in their attentions. Their attendance at this game did not come from sisterly interest, or from family obligation. It was something different altogether.
Where did these girls come from?
A thunderstorm rolled through, scattering the players and crowd. The girls showed up at a concession stand window asking us to safely store their signs. I watched Mr. T avoid working that window, and I also noticed how these girls barely noticed Mr. T. I have no argument with that.
The refs finally called the game and the 8th grade boys trooped past in their pads and helmets and football jerseys. Mr. T waved to a few friends playing on the team and I noticed the girls standing alongside the spot where the players left the field, cheering and calling the players out by name as passed.
When did this girl-attention madness start?
I also noticed several boys studiously ignoring their new breed of fan--whether embarrassed or disgusted or confused by their presence I couldn't say. The girls collected their glittery signs and somehow I feel confident they won't be standing on the sidelines of the home cross country meet next week. I'm glad Mr. T's not playing a glamorous sport. I'd rather he stay in a sport where his fans are cheering for him, not to be noticed by him.
Now I'm going to work on convincing Mr. B to run cross country instead of playing football next year... A lot of moms don't want their boys playing football because they're worried about their sons getting hurt. Pfft. A broken bone doesn't scare me, but those girls on the sidelines? That's another story!