Yesterday Steven and I went to the Wild Card NFL game between the CINCINNATI BENGALS and the Baltimore Ravens!
Oh my gosh we had the best time ever! We walked around downtown beforehand where there was a city-wide tailgate going on. Cincinnati LOVES their Bengals, and boy did downtown turn out for the huge game last night.
We got to the game right as the doors opened and had 90 minutes of pregame entertainment to whet our whistle before the main event.
There were fireworks, electric guitar solos, fried stadium food, and of course Joe Burrow.
The game was amazing – it was both Steven and my first ever, in-person Bengals game! I know, I’ve lived here my whole childhood, and never once went to a game! But there’s always a first time for everything, and how special to watch with my wonderful fiancé!
I don’t know if it’s because I’m about to get married, and have the desire to start a family soon after, but I found myself periodically stepping back, outside of myself, and viewing the experience as a mom, with kids in tow. Maybe it’s because Steven mentioned that it may be fun to get season tickets when we have kids, but regardless, I found myself sometimes watching the game through that lens.
And I found that the whole NFL itself, is very family friendly. At least at the Bengals stadium. All the music was the “radio edited” versions. The cheerleaders were in yoga pants and jackets. There was the Play 365 campaign to encourage kids to play outside. They did the “kids cam” on the jumbotron, and pretty much everything was family friendly.
Except…well, the fans.
There was a woman behind us who brought her eight year old son to the game, and it was just one thing after another that made me just *close my eyes* and take a deep sigh for this woman.
For starters, the drunk guy next to her spilled her full White Claw (all over my seat) as he was walking by. And so that’s how it kicked off.
But to her other side, were another group of 6 or 7 drunk frat-type guys, and they were all just yelling profanities the whole game. Every bad call was a “F-You, Ref!” Or “Su*k my [expletive], Ref!”
It was just — yikes. Even I, — who doesn’t have kids, and have lived in New York for the last 12 years — was uncomfortable with what was coming out of these guys’ mouths.
But the kicker was that these guys were talking to this eight year old child, and being like, “only 13 more years until you can drink, my guy!”
Like — how inappropriate to say that to a child? Ask him who his favorite player is on the team. Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. Ask him if he plays football.
Why on earth would you think it is okay to talk to an eight year old about how long he has until he can drink alcohol?!!
I had to stop listening at that point, because I was just too upset.
And to be completely fair in the matter — I do believe the topic was discussed because man #1 who spilled his mom’s White Claw did end up buying her another one, and this conversation ensued during the delivery. BUT still. I don’t think that makes it any less inappropriate.
Back to me, watching the game, half with an eye like a parent.
It just struck me that, as parents in today’s world, it is truly the steepest of uphill battles to raise your children with their head on straight anymore.
To instill in your children a Christian worldview, where they feel safe to be the children God created them to be, and striving to follow Christ’s example…there are just so many factors actively working against us.
We can’t trust Disney anymore, or the Disney channel. Public schools are feeding our children anti-Christian “truths.”
You can’t even bring a child to an NFL football game anymore without being bombarded by drunken seat mates.
It just is a bit discouraging.
But I’ve got to think, that our children are shaped by the people we surround them by. The media – both social and traditional will do their best – but surrounding them with a strong family; a vibrant community of believers; friends who share the same values; and a bedrock of church attendance (and enjoyment)… I’ve got to think that we’re equipping kids with a sturdy enough foundation to at least give them a fighting chance against this crazy world we’re up against.
Or maybe I’m looking at the glass half-empty. Maybe I’m missing something.
Maybe I’m forgetting that I’m no longer in NYC anymore, and the community here in Ohio is much more Christ-loving, and family oriented. Maybe I need to count those blessings that I’m out of New York, and look to the positives around me.
But until then, I will continue to cheer on my Cincinnati Bengals, and enjoy this beautiful new city, and let drunken frat-guy conversations be regretful accidents that hopefully, led to a formative parenting opportunity in the car on the way home.
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