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Monday, November 7, 2011

One thing I learned while tossing the football back and forth in the cul-de-sac with Aiden yesterday was that he is very generous when it comes to my faults and weaknesses. "You didn't have a very good grip on that one, did you, Uncle Mike?" Well, no, that explains why it wobbled like a wounded duck all the way across the court. "Did it slip out of your hands?" Yeah, let's go with that.

Another thing I learned is that the kid has a strong, accurate arm, and he can throw spirals with a miniature rubber football that's flat on one side. Imagine what he could do with a ball that fits his hand and is somewhat symmetrical. He should be a skill player, not a lineman. His hands are suspect, though. He did pretty well catching those few balls that I delivered right to him, wobble-free. Not so much when he had to move, either his body or his hands. But he's only seven, remember.

He was also endearingly patient when Kylie decided she wanted to play catch with us. He was fine with her taking turns throwing the ball back and forth with him and then with me. Her attention span on such matters is a bit tenuous, however. At times she would be so excited about whatever she was talking about (and she was talking constantly) that she put the ball under her arm so she could use both hands to gesture. She ignored me when I said, "More football, less talking." Or she just didn't hear me.

Then she decided to start making up new rules. "It's just catch, Kylie. The only rule is to throw the ball back and forth." As you would probably guess, that didn't fly with her. She told me it was a penalty if I went past a certain crack in the pavement. She said she would stand halfway between Aiden and me and get all the balls we missed, then got frustrated when we didn't miss enough to suit her. It was an adventurous ride through her six-year-old mind, and we held on as tightly as we could. As I said, Aiden is a patient big brother.

Aiden was impressed every time I caught one of his throws, so I made an extra effort to get to as many of them as I could. "Nice catch, Uncle Mike." Thanks, buddy. That was for you.

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