Katy, Texas Football Farm Leagues: Spring Gridiron League Game 1

Friday Night Lights has nothing on Katy, TX.

You know our high school has had the number one team in the state a bazillion times (ok, six, but that’s still a lot), right?  Well, I’m about to explain to you why…

In baseball, you have college ball and then the farm leagues:  double-A, triple-A, then The Show, as Nuke LaLoosh found out in Bull Durham.  Football ostensibly has no such path to success.  It’s pretty much high school then college and then recruitment to the NFL if you’re good enough.  If you’re not good enough for the pros, you’re just done after college.

To make up for that lack of a farm system and to ensure that Texas will always have more people in the NFL from this state than any other by a factor of three, what the Katy community does is stalk the delivery floors of local hospitals and any male child over 8 lbs is recruited for a high school team on the spot.  Kidding.  Only not really.  If I had a nickel for every time I rolled my eyes at how into this sport people are, and for every time someone would stop me at Kroger and tell me my boys were destined to be linebackers given their size at fifteen months of age, and for every time I subsequently commented that neither of my boys would ever play such a barbaric and injury-laden sport, I’d be assured to keep my newfound SAHM status indefinitely.  So of course you know how the story ends, right?

My boys play football.  And they are both linebackers.  Of course they are.

My older son has played for three seasons already at the ripe old age of 11.  Funnily enough, that is a ripe old age because 90% of his team when he played for the first time in the 4th grade had all been playing for at least two seasons.  There are probably toddler leagues out there I don’t know of.  While I’m happily teaching my children the alphabet and stressing over the fact that they refuse to learn their colors, these people evidently had their sons out on the field practicing the Tight End Reverse and I-Formation offense.  It’s crazy.

This Spring, my younger son got into the act for the first time.  He gets beat to death taught how to play routinely by his older brother in the side yard of our home, so he’s not unfamiliar with the sport.  He’s actually pretty big for his age and by the looks of him you’d think he’d be a real bruiser.  This is his first official season though, and I was unsure how he’d handle it.  He has sensory issues and was most unhappy with his helmet…he looked up at the salesman at Brammer’s (the place to get sporting equipment in Katy, anddontyouforgetit) and said, in all sincerity, “These helmets are not very comfortable.”  Right.  Welcome to football, son!

I have to admit to some reservations about son #2’s coach.  He was very in to it at the pre-season Parent Meeting.  All “Go buy the pants with the pads already sewn in because we’ve timed them running?  And turns out the kids are so much faster with those pants vs the ones where the pads have to be slipped into the pockets.”  Huh?  You’ve timed them?  And noticed a difference in speed?  What have I gotten myself into…

This Saturday though, I have to say my opinion turned on a dime.  This coach really is fantastic with the kids, and his wife is the Best Team Mom Ever.  Seriously.  Played a lot of sports myself, exposed the boys to lots of sports, seen a lot of Team Moms.  She rocks.  She had this little pump-pressurized squirt bottle, the kind that you use to spray pesticide on your plants if you don’t have a bug guy, and filled it with water to mist the kids down at halftime and before the game.  Seriously prepared.  She was clearly a girl scout, or has been Team Mom-ing in Katy for a good long time because she’s got the drill down, baby.

When it was all said and done, we went one and one for the weekend.  One win, one loss.  Next week is a bye for the younger son, so they’ll have a chance to assess the loss and probably sit in a room somewhere at tonight’s practice and review the tape.  (People seriously video tape nine and 10 year olds playing, folks.)

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m here.  Here meaning “at a place where I have children playing football in a state where Football is King and holy cow I have sold out and am now playing into the whole machine, aren’t I?”  Aren’t I now one of the people I scoffed at?  One of the people out under an umbrella on a scorching Saturday morning, the people that I used to laugh and laugh at as I drove by in my air-conditioned car, on the way to a leisurely late breakfast.  One of “those moms” who buys a football jersey (cut for women’s figures, of course, because they actually make such a thing…and sell it at Brammer’s) with her sons’ team name on it to wear for the games.

I am indeed.  And I now carry around a bottle of salt with which to season the words that come out of my mouth, as I will surely someday eat them.




Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

It all started when someone on a parenting board that I live on frequent opened up a can of hatorade on the Flat Stanley project.  I’ll never understand the need to deride something like this, something so wholesome and full of learning possibilities for The Children.  (You have to say that wistfully and with a tone full of reverence, like Maria and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, or it doesn’t count.)  This normally sweet woman had gone on and on about how much of a pain it was, and how the “friend” for whom she’d completed the project didn’t even appreciate all her hard work.  The nerve of some people.

So when a woman on the same parenting board mentioned that her son was now doing the project, I was all over it.  Send me your poor, your tired, your hungry, and your Flat Stanleys and I will adventure the ever-loving life out of that little guy.  I LOVE THIS PROJECT.

Three days after agreeing to take it on, I got a package from the Great White North of Minnesota.  This dear woman had said she was going to send me a pre-paid return envelope to send him and the pictures back in, and indeed she did.  That should have been my first clue that something was remiss.  Flat Stanley needs his own pre-paid envelope?  We’re talking an eight inch by six inch laminated guy in a blue shirt.  Or are we?  Evidently, we are not.  What we are talking about instead is a life-size, butcher-paper drawn likeness of the eight-year-old little boy who is actually reading the book about Flat Stanley, and said likeness is almost my size.  So large is this Flat Stanley, that I felt the need to properly restrain him when taking him on his adventures, lest I be ticketed.  To whit:

Candid Canon - Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

Yes, that's a bag of Doritos on the seat. What? You thought I wouldn't feed him?

Are you even kidding me with this?

This is clearly not what I signed up for.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to pose something like that?  The real Flat Stanley, as aforementioned, is laminated.  That means he is somewhat rigid, in design if not in his belief system, and therefore far more, you know, pose-able.  This guy?  He looks like something out of CSI:

Candid Canon - Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

Tell me that does not look like a dead body outline. Go ahead.

He flops all over the place and requires a roll or two of tape or a prop-master to help you get him into position.   To say nothing of the fact that it’s March in Texas and we have wind gusts that knock over all but the sturdiest of people and he becomes a serious flight risk.  I took him to Austin with my Mom (we were actually there to see her Aunt, my Great Aunt, and took him along) and I’ll be darned if we didn’t nearly lose him on the side of the road.  At the Birthplace of Texas, no less.

Candid Canon - Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

Mother is holding on to him for dear life, lest he fly away to worlds unknown. Or to Brenham, whichever's closer.

I’m telling you, to say this was a challenge is an understatement.  But we soldiered on and took him to my Alma Mater, The University of Texas at Austin.  We parked along Sorority Row so that we could just walk over to the fountain and snap a few pics, only there was a tour bus of sorts full of people from I don’t know where who were all blocking my way.  Knowing we were sort of double-parked, which is not unlike being “sort of” pregnant, I was in a bit of a rush.  We waited patiently for about ten minutes two seconds and I horned my way in.   Behold, I give you Flat Stanley at the UT fountain, which sits at the end of the mall and in the shadow of the UT Tower:

Candid Canon - Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

Note the lack of other people in the frame. I think I kinda scared them when I walked through their throng holding on to my paper friend. And with my Mother, no less.

But the whole point of this post, really, was to showcase how Flat Stanley got to meet the long-lost cousin, Beydose’, of The Blogess’ Beyonce‘.  Here, friends, is the money shot:

Candid Canon - Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

This is not at all inappropriate.

You can’t tell by the drawn-on expression on his face, but let me assure you this was the highlight of his trip.  I think what we are witnessing here folks is the start of a budding romance.  Or bromance…I can’t tell if that’s a girl chicken or a boy chicken (which would technically be a rooster but who’s counting).  It was at this same metal junkyard that he met the members of a wire mariachi band, and made more friends:

Candid Canon - Flat Stanley vs. The Blogess Chicken (aka, Beyonce)

Ignore Carlos's third leg. It belongs to my Mom who was spotting Flat Stanley in the background. You know, BECAUSE HE WAS HUGE AND NOT POSE-ABLE.

I think that the next time I agree to do a Flat Stanley project, I will clarify up front what it is exactly that I am getting into.  Will I be hauling around a normal-sized Flat Stanley or the giant, economy size?  Will I need to enlist the help of friends and family to keep him from a) blowing away or b) looking like a murder victim?

Flat Stanley?  I hope you enjoyed your adventures.  Minnesotans, and {name removed to protect his identity} in particular, I hope your class learns something about Texas from all our adventures!  {name removed to protect his identity}’s Mom?  I hope you know how much I  truly enjoyed the project despite making sport of it…your pictures and scrapbook will be in an envelope and sent back to you early next week.  I want to take him on one last adventure this evening with the boys.

Wish me luck.