Monday, December 19, 2011

Mt. Carmel Topples Mom

When a mother holds her infant son for the first time, many thoughts run through her head.  A world of opportunity and unlimited potential sleeps soundly in her arms as she asks herself: 

Will he be smart? 

Will he be handsome?

Will he be liked? 

How many instruments can I convince him to play?
(that one might just be me)

Yet when certain Irish firemen from the southside of Chicago first hold their sons, the searing question is noticeably different:

Will he play football for Mt. Carmel High School?

Let the grooming begin!  As a mother, I am only too aware of the head injuries and damage football can cause. My high school picks for the boys include St. Ignatius and a host of Selective Enrollment Schools such as North Shore Prep or Whitney Young. 

But I fear I am losing already. The impressive legacy of professional athletes who hail from Mt. Carmel span the NHL, NFL, and NBA:  Simeon Rice. Antoine Walker. Donovan McNabb. Chris Chelios.

The school also lays claim to nearly a dozen state championships in football. And 5 of the boys' uncles attended as well. 

So at the end of the day, I'm left looking like the big loser who just wants her boys to protect their brains, avoid football, and play something the flute.

Danny and Jack have other ideas.  They engage in outright warfare over their daddy's old high school football jersey.  Each time they attend a game, there is the inevitable scramble to our closet and subsequent tug-o-war for the tattered old thing.  They covet it like the Holy Grail:

Jack won this battle.  I think he put it on right after he got out of bed that morning.
So against my better judgement, and in the name of peace on earth, I ordered up two custom jerseys for my sons this Christmas.  They are the exact size as their dad's and both have his number and name printed across the back:

I've given up on my approach and I'm trying something new: 

"Reverse psychology."

It's important to have dreams.


  1. As the wife of an MC alum (though not a football player), I appreciate being married to someone who dreams of their son going to his (and his father's) alma mater, while I have fantasies similar to yours for where our kids will end up. Love the jerseys! So thoughtful and fun of you! And maybe that reverse psychology will work?! :)

  2. So true. Im glad I have all girls. Although Tim was a golfer, before we even had kids, he agreed to live in the burbs but if he had a son, they would take the train/el/whatever transportation necessary to get there. I would ask about neighborhoods "Doesnt matter, the priest meets them at the stop". Thank God for my three female angels!


  3. They could always wear the jerseys while they play the flute.. best of both worlds.

  4. My husband played high school football and was REALLY good until he broke his jaw playing the first game of his junior year and had to sit the season out. Played as a senior, but didn't have the recruiting options he would have had... He ended up playing 1AA ball and partied like a rockstar and he lost his $32K a year scholarship and ended up coming home and going to Junior College and still hasn't graduated (but has a hot wife and 3 awesome kids). The reason I say this: Have a plan B.

  5. Kathy - Here's hoping, right? Or we'll be watching Sean & Dan head off to Carmel together in a few short years!

    Robyn - I love that. I read Tim's response about the bus to my mom and she laughed like hell.

    Skiwshee - Now that's something you don't see every day.

    Ali - Ow. The though of your husband's jaw getting broke just killed my wine cooler buzz. Plan Bs are important. Or in my case, Plans B-W.

    Maplewood - You have no idea. Or do you? (:

  6. Football is evil. (Oh! Did I just type that?!?!?)