So, anyway, I'm pretty sure there is vodka in the water bottle, though I have no proof other than the sneaking suspicion that I'm the only adult in these bleachers who is actually sober. Had I not come directly from work, I might've had a little nip first as well, for it's homecoming, the little girl's last as a high school student. In the fall air, there is the misty cocktail of something drawing to a close.
That feeling continues the next night, when parents and teenagers gather at a luscious house in the hills to see the kids off to the homecoming dance. In 15 minutes, 50 or so teenagers will board a rental bus and head off to a pre-dance dinner, but not before the parents snap off a zillion photos. The digital cameras chatter like machine guns. Someone notes how the boys are finally taller than the girls.
Known these parents for at least 12 years, many of them. We went on field trips together, staged school fairs, joked our way through Indian Princesses and Scouts, soccer, divorces and childbirth.
Bruce, one of my favorites, coached alongside me during our glory years of AYSO, his skinny, pretzel-legged daughter one of my star forwards.
"Marisa, shoot the ball!" I can still hear Bruce screaming. "Shoot the stinkin' ball!"
Suddenly, Marisa is 17 and wearing heels and little dabs of silver on the inside corners of her eyes. Marisa is probably too dazzling and full of life for our little suburb and must move on soon -- to Berkeley, or New Haven, or Palo Alto, places better suited to dazzling teenagers like her and the little girl.
Seriously, would you like to be 17 again?
No. But I wouldn't mind being 38 again and doing this all again. For in the suburbs, the good stuff goes by too quickly. Now it's the fourth quarter, the final play, the ultimate Hail Mary.
Marisa, shoot the ball.
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MAN OF THE HOUSE
Under Friday night lights, reeling in the years and relishing the suburban life
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