Quarterback Mom injured in end-zone celebration

Are We There Yet?


Being a mother of four boys, I’ve become accustomed to rough housing, full-contact sports and activities that come with warning signs and words of caution.

Worse yet, I’m prone to get involved.

Take, for instance, the Great Spinal Twist of 2004. Back then, I considered myself to be the great water slider of all time. I knew how to get the best speed, the most air and the biggest bang for my buck.

That is exactly how the kids and I ended up on the Monsoon Typhoon, the granddaddy of all waterslides. It was fast, it was wild and posted as many warning signs as it did twist and turns.

They cautioned about this, they warned about that. Don’t ride if you’re too young, don’t ride if you’re too old, have back aliments, hangnails or have had personal contact with anyone who knows anyone who may have had a headache within the last six months.

The boys and I laughed off the warnings and fought our way to the front of the line with big smiles and tubes in tow.

I was enjoying the ride of my life when I hit the fourth turn and took flight until gravity yanked me back to the slide, where I went sunny side up and smacked the water like a bug on a windshield.

A gal can certainly feel her age after taking a digger like that. My neck locked into a position that nature had never intended, my right arm went numb and, strangely enough, I couldn’t feel my left foot.

When I shot out of the end of the tube, I had the hairdo of a mad scientist. I had water pouring out of my nostrils and my swimsuit was twisted into a position where it was never designed to go.

I headed to a chair with all the grace and ease of Quasimodo. My precious boys, loving me as they do, caught up with me in no time chanting things like, “Mom took a digger,” and “Yeah, did you see how much air she got on that thing?”

Although I steered clear of waterslides from that day forward, I still suffered from the yoyo occurrence in 2005, the bicycle crash of 2006, and the Rollerblade incident of 2007, which landed me on the neighbor’s sidewalk moving my arms and legs in an attempt to upright myself while looking like a bug on its back.

Therefore, I decided in 2008 that it’s best to let the boys be boys and whenever necessary, to hide in the laundry room.

I was standing behind a pile of unmated socks on Sunday when our three younger sons sought me out and asked, “Wanna play football, Mom?”

It was a moment of indecision. Stay safely with the socks? Or, for the sake of being an involved parent, embrace the moment and play a full-contact sport?

“I’ll do it,” I said against my better judgment, “but I get to be all-time quarterback and nobody tackles me.”

Moments later I was on the front lawn and hurling a ball to my receiver. Although they say I throw like a girl, my pass wasn’t bad and my Lawrence pulled it in. Then in a quick turn of events, Lawrence shouted out, “Mom, lateral!” and launched it back to me.

I knew that catching that ball would be a mistake. I was aware of the fact that running with it could bring me harm. But I was caught up in the moment and being the fool that I am, I snatched the ball out of the air and ran like the wind.

There have been faster sprinters, there have been better contenders, but I tell you this: I gave it my all. Just as I was about to cross the goal line and do my end-zone celebration, Huey ran up alongside me. Keeping in mind that he was not, under any circumstances, to tackle his mother, he did what he felt was best and attempted to bat the ball out of my hands. In doing so, he popped me — the all-time quarterback — right in the kisser.

“Way to go. Mom!” one of the boys shouted through the fog. “Yeah, way to take one for the team!” said another. Then Lawrence appeared through the yellow haze that was clouding my vision and said, “Get back in the game and channel that anger onto the playing field!”

Since I can’t mask my fat lip at the ladies’ luncheon tomorrow, I believe I’ll complete the look with black lines under my eyes and play up my football injury.

I suppose it could have been worse, I could have injured my knee and ended my entire athletic career.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her at www.loriclinch. com.