It was just a game. Sure, it was a game of major importance, but it was still just a game. That, however, didn't stop me from crying my eyes out when it was over.
It only took a few moments for me to realize that the floodgates didn't open on account of the fact that Nate Kaeding is a total headcase when it comes to playoffs against the Jets.
Matthew will sit for awhile and watch a little bit of a game. That, coupled with the fact that he's a stout little guy, has led me to refer to him, often, as Sproles. (2031 draft, here we come!) So, last night, Troy took off early with The Rock Star because we had a meeting at church that he needed to get ready for. As the final minutes of the game ticked away and I began to see the smallest glimmer of hope, despite Kaeding's three missed field goals (only one of which was understandable), Little Buddy sat on my lap. He was wearing a bolt shirt, staring at the television, happily kicking his chubby little legs. Then the Jets converted on 4th down and inches and it was over.
And I wondered if Matthew would ever watch another Charger game with me. When next season rolls around will he be here for me to dress in San Diego bolt clothing? Will I still be watching his growth charts and referring to him as Sproles? Lately, I hadn't really cried over the thought of losing him. I'd lost sleep, sure, but the crippling emotion hadn't escaped by way of my tear ducts. So I found it slightly jarring that I was bawling over a football game. Truthfully, I audibly called myself stupid for such a ridiculous display when I hadn't had a good cry over Matthew in some time. And that's when it hit me that I was crying over Matthew. I cannot imagine next football season without him. He is tied so tightly into my every single day way of life that my own muscles, sinews, and Sunday afternoons won't know what to do if he isn't here.
I fought tears later, in the halls at church, as I told Troy that I cried when they lost. He laughed and said he wasn't overly surprised--such is my loyalty to my Chargers. But then I explained why it upset me so much, why I needed them to keep winning, why it's the little things in life, like watching football with my baby, that keep me fighting. I told him that I just had to watch football next autumn with my 18-month-old. He looked me in the eyes and with absolute assurance in his voice replied, "You will."
He doesn't know. He couldn't possibly. But his confidence in that moment filled me with hope. When we were left alone in the hallway, I pulled Matthew close to me until his soft brown baby cheek rested on mine. "Promise me you'll watch football with me next fall. Promise!"
"Da. Ba. Ooh," He said with a grin.
"I'm just going to take that as a yes," I replied. "And you can't go back on your word. A promise is a promise."
No one feels worse about the Chargers losing that game yesterday than the Chargers themselves. It wasn't all Kaeding's fault (although, certainly, the game would have been different had he made even one of those field goals), the team played like hot headed high schoolers. Still, no one feels more loss over a season being over than they do. But if there was a person who needed them to keep winning it was me. If there is another person who is feeling great loss over the end of a season it is me. Oh alright, to be fair, I probably come after all the people who placed bets on the game and lost.