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Adventures in Germany

I had to give up Oktober Fest last night because there are only so many hours in a day.  Right now I am spending 25 of those hours sleeping, eating, working and being mom. I am plain, ol’ mom, guitar mom, pingpong mom, swim mom, after-school-random-sports mom, Soccer Mom and now football mom.  Football mom is… OMG. Football. Mom.  I’m starting to feel that is worse than army wife.

Most Saturdays there is a game, that means clean pads, undergear, uniform, shower bag, other gear, snacks, more snacks, American money for food on base, Euro’s for food on the road, and more.  Cole does do a lot of it on his own but it still means:

“Mom!  Where is the stuff I clean pads with?”
“Mom! How do I get grass stains out of my pants?”
“Mom!” My helmet doesn’t fit in my bag.  Where is a bigger bag?”
“Mom! We are out of protein shakes!”
“Mom! Where is my shampoo?”
“Mom! I only have €5!”
“Mom! Have you seen my black jersey?  I can only find the white jersey.  I need the black jersey!”

Then he says: “What do you mean it is a lot of work for you?”

Now it also includes cooking for 10, and serving up a hot carb-loaded meal to the boys, the night before a big game. I participated in the first team dinner last night. I made my Dutch-style bacon mac & cheese, then ferried it piping hot to the field and carried, all 50 piping hot pounds of it, across the football field to serve the team.

Us moms, and a couple of awesome dads, are lined up on one side (dwarfed by our huge little giants, but we are there in the photo, can you see me poking out, about an inch of me?), serving up overflowing plates of food.  Not just once, but twice, even three times! Football players can eat.

For two hours it was all happy, warm fuzzies, camaraderie and bonding with both the boys and the other parents.  Yes, it is a lot of work, packed into days that are already more than full, but it is also fabulous to be part of a big family.  Living so far from home, finding family anywhere, is priceless.

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Last night Cole had his first game under the Friday Night Lights.  Football is not big here in Germany, soccer, oh yes, but football?  That’s a whole other story.

The most important part of the story is that only “our” high schools have teams.  That means a lot of travel time for our teams as they bus throughout Europe for their games.  It also means a lot of long roadtrips for the proud parents (that’s me! And Dave!).

Yesterday we drove 4 hours (it’s 2 1/2 hours, but, well, Friday afternoon on the autobahn is not at unlimited, breakneck speeds) to get up to K-town and cheer Cole and the Panthers on for their first game of the season.

It has been an unusually cold summer here, and Fall is in full swing.  The boys were warm, even hot during play, but up in the stands the cold, wet, rain chilled me down to my bones.  Shhhhh! Don’t tell Cole his mom may be getting just a little old.

Despite the cold, despite the rain, a night game is exciting!  Our boys were slow to warm up. The K-town team has, *gasp*, astroturf!  At home our boys play on real grass. Maybe that is why they were slow to start?  The first quarter left our hearts in our throats and my voice hoarse.  It was instant bond for me, Dave and the other proud parents rooting for our team.  There, in the middle of Germany, we found a little bit of small town Americana.

An away game, a 3-hours away, away game means a smaller crowd on the “guest” side.  We more than made up for the smaller audience by whooping & cheering & encouraging our team.  Soon enough those boys found their footing on the slick, fast astroturf and rallied for a resounding win.  Final score? 41 – 20.  Go Panthers!

This is Cole’s first year playing football, despite being a junior (Football is a Way of Life), but he is on the Varsity team, albeit second string.  Second string is hard for our puppy.  He had to wait till the 4th quarter to finally get on the field and play.

And he played.  He played hard. He played fast. He played strong.  Can you just see my heart bursting with pride over here?

Friday Night Lights

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Way back in the dark ages, I was a high school cheerleader.  Back then I loved football! I loved the smell of fresh grass, the energy of the crowd, hot dogs, cheering. I loved night games under the bright lights, those are almost magical. I loved football.

As the years passed, and we left California shortly after Cole’s birth (and my beloved 49ers), we watched less & less football as a family.  There wasn’t enough time in a day to shuffle 4, 5, 6 kids to school and all their activities and watch football.  Maybe because of that none of my kids played.  Until now.

For two years Cole has been begging me to play football.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love football! But Cole had severe asthma when we moved to Germany.  I had fear of him rolling around on grass. It has been two years since he’s truly had an attack, after talking to his doctor, and clearing him to play, I signed on the dotted line.  Cole is on the football team!

OMG! Football is not cheerleading.  Football is a way of life.  There are daily practices, diet changes, meetings, fund raisers, emails flying left and right…. aaaaaaaaaaah! I’m dizzy from the demands of being a football mom!  Cole, on the other hand, is glowing. Usually with exhaustion, but also with pride. He loves being on the team.  I have never seen him work harder at anything in his life.

Friday is his first game.  It is a night game.  I can’t wait!

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