It's that time of year again. The dreaded sports. The sports take over my household. Expletives fly like moths in the night. The house shakes like an earthquake at the epicenter. Sleeping children with dreams full of lilacs and peace fairies are jolted awake by a whooping and a hollering. What's that? they wonder, their minds quickly going through the list of dangers — pack of coyotes, fire alarm, monster beneath the bed. Oh, no, it's just Dad.
My husband says it's a curse loving teams that are ju-u-u-st not good enough. I think it's a curse to love teams that are this good. My kids think it's a curse to get to learn so many cool new curse words and not be allowed to repeat them.
The Dodgers made it all the way to the World Series. Again. Groan. The Eagles play on an off night of the World Series. Double groan.
I used to like sports. Truly. But that was back in the day when it meant going to games, sitting in the sun, eating nachos, drinking beer, high-fiving strangers and booing your neighbor in good fun. Before children and bedtimes. Long before cardboard cutouts in the stands.
If school were in-person these days, my kids would be eagerly waiting for recess so they could teach their friends the new stream of curse words they picked up after being jolted awake by the steady stream of them. I should, perhaps, be embarrassed. In fact, I know I would be if it weren't for the fact that every year around this time, my kids come home with their own newly learned expletive amalgamations their friends taught them on the playground. This year, there has been no such sharing. I knew that my children's vocabulary would go down during COVID. I never before thought I'd be grateful for it.
My son was 3 the first time we were called in to the school office in a late October to discuss his swearing. I bowed my head in shame. The head of his preschool, who was also the pastor at the Lutheran church that ran the school, laughed. "Don't feel bad! You have no idea how many parents I have to talk to in October. Trust me, I yell the same words at my television. We just want to get as many kids as possible to stop repeating the words at school." I loved that pastor.
As we walked out of the meeting, we saw other parents waiting for the next appointment to talk to the pastor. The couple were wearing Dodgers shirts. We all looked at one another and laughed.
Our RV trip around the country has brought us to Los Angeles, where we lived when my children were born. We met up with the old preschool gang at a field for the families to see one another. Our children had shared a room between the ages of 4 months and 4 years. It didn't take long for one of the moms to reminisce about the time our son was moved up into the Bluebird room at age 2, where he would now be expected to participate in church services and say a prayer before lunch.
I am Jewish, and my husband was raised Christian, but neither of us was raised with prayer before eating.
My son, on his first day as a Bluebird, sat around the table with the other kids. His teacher said, "We are now going to say a prayer. Put your hands together."
While the other Bluebird children bowed their heads, my kid put his hands together and did what he was always expected to do when someone announced, ""Let's put our hands together!" He responded in a clap-clap-clapclapclap "Let's go, Dodgers!"
The pastor couldn't wait to tell me that story when I picked my son up that day. He was giddy with laughter. "We know that kid's religion is baseball!"
RV living has made the season particularly trying. Now when my husband jumps, I fear he will bust a tire. When he yelps, he has to remember to give context. Expletive-expletive must be followed with the name of a team, lest he simply sound like a cursing maniac to the rest of the campground. Overall, we survived the season better than expected.
F—- it. Go, sports!
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Follow Katiedid Langrock on Instagram, at http://www.instagram.com/writeinthewild. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.