A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
A BIG FAN
I thought I knew Amy. I really did.
I mean, sheís my daughter Ė my eldest child. Iíve known her for all of her 25 years, from the first time I saw her tiny little head clamped in those diabolical looking forceps to the last time I saw her neatly combed head clamped in Joe Jr.ís armpit while receiving a noogie, which was . . . oh, about three hours ago (hey, traditions are traditions, adulthood notwithstanding).
I know that she was, at one time, an award-winning gymnast (never mind that she was 5 and she won a pink ribbon for finishing 7th in somersaulting Ė an award is an award). I know that she has music in her soul, and can sing more beautifully than anyone youíve ever seen on "American Idol" Ė Paula Abdul included. I know that she can make this really cool noise that sounds for all the world like one of those squeeze bulb honkers on an old-time bicycle.
But I didnít know that she is a sports fan.
I donít know how I missed this little tidbit. Maybe the sports appreciation chromosome comes in a timed-release format on some females. Maybe chasing her rambunctious 18-month-old daughter Sami from one act of household terrorism to another has awakened her long dormant athletic sensibilities. Or maybe I was so busy watching the games on TV myself that I didnít notice my daughter watching over my shoulder.
Whatever the reason, I was unaware of Amyís enthusiasm for sports until a month ago, when she invited me to join her and Sami for a "Meet the Players" event at the local university.
"Yeah, right," I said, chuckling. "And then we can go into the locker room and sing show tunes with the linebackers."
"Iím serious, Dad," she said. "Iím a big fan."
"Uh-huh," I said. "And Iím Eleanor Roosevelt."
"Go ahead and laugh," Amy said, a little hurt, "but Iíve been a fan for years."
I didnít want to say that I doubted what she was telling me, but . . . well . . . I doubted what she was telling me.
"How could you be a fan for all these years without me knowing?" I asked.
"I donít know," she said. "Maybe you werenít paying attention."
So for the past few weeks Iíve been paying
attention. And it turns out that Amy really is a fan. She plans her day around
game coverage. She watches the game, occasionally yelling through the TV at
officials, coaches, players and TV commentators (a long-standing
"How many times did he miss open receivers?" she whined last Sunday, recounting the previous dayís inglorious defeat. "Five? Six? These guys were so open I could have hit them."
And you know what? I believe she could have.
Of course, now Iím wondering how I could have missed this significant element of my daughterís personality. Maybe I havenít been paying as much attention as I should.
Then again, thereís no way to know everything about anyone Ė not even those who are near and dear to us. And that isnít such a bad thing, is it? One of the most intriguing aspects of human nature is our infinite capacity to surprise. Just when you think youíve got someone figured out, along comes a previously unknown quirk that brings new light and life to the relationship.
Especially if it means theyíre yelling at the TV.
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Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com.