“11 men and a lady” was the title that first came to mind for this post. I thought it was a creative title for the 1:30 AM – 5:30 AM Superbowl watching “party” I participated in this morning. Ari was invited to watch the game at a fellow New Englander’s home. I told Ari to make sure it was OK that I came along, too. Last year I made the arrangements, so I knew our hosts were expecting me (I was the only female last year also.) This year we were invited to a new host’s home and as each of the men arrived, they looked at me as if to say, “What is SHE doing here?”
I explained to them that I grew up with 3 brothers, all male cousins, uncles, a grandfather who was a sports addict, and the family ritual of watching Sunday football. Growing up in Maryland, I was a Washington Redskins fan or a Baltimore Colts fan. When I married a New Englander, I became a New England Patriots fan.
I love football! I have since I was a kid – loved watching it AND loved playing it! Before we made aliyah I would watch Sunday games with my husband and son, religiously. I never liked Drew Bledsoe. I always thought he played for himself and not for the team. When baby face Tom Brady came out of the lineup and won our hearts (at least mine!), I knew we were in for some winnings.
And we were! Last night (or this morning) was the 3rd Superbowl win in 4 years for the Patriots! It was a close game. The anxiety was killing me – I couldn’t sit down! But I was right in there with the boys, just like the old days.
It’s an interesting phenomenon, listening to grown men yell and scream and criticize younger men than they on the player's football plays and skills; or laughing at off-color jokes; or wondering at these grown men's incredible knowledge of sport statistics and trivia. I began to think, “Do women keep statistics in their heads of how much laundry was done this week or which meal they made most last year?” Just wonderous…
One of the watchers was our host’s Israeli co-worker. Poor guy barely understood English, let alone the game of football. Our host had to explain the entire game to him from what an end zone was to what all the statistics streaming across the screen meant. Our Israeli friend left at half time. I don’t think it was Sir Paul McCartney that scared him off; it was probably the strange American culture of eating hamburgers, chilidogs and chicken wings at 2 o’clock in the morning, while watching big men run all over each other on the field! Quite a humorous sight!!
It was a great game, and I’m glad I stayed to watch it. It was the first year watching without DB. That was sad for me! He decided to watch it with his friends elsewhere. I guess he’s reached the stage of separation and individualization…
MB went to another friends’ house, where a group of girls who knew nothing about the game watched it together. MB was the only one who understood even a little of the game because of the Women’s Flag Football League she participates in, in Jerusalem. (They play in Kraft Stadium, by the way. A stadium donated by our very own Bob Kraft – owner of the Patriots – right in the heart of Jerusalem!)
We left NED and Ely asleep in their beds. When I returned at 5:30, they were both asleep in my bed. Sweet sisters snuggling…
OK, so that’s the football part. As I watched with anxiety, I was quickly thrown back several hours to my hospital visit earlier that morning. I was brought back to reality, by the almost stupidity of the anxiety I felt at the end of the game.
I had spent 3 hours Sunday morning, waiting with my newfound cousin in a waiting room in a Tel Aviv hospital. This cousin’s father and my mother were first cousins. So what does that make us? FAMILY!
I was first introduced to this cousin at NED’s Bat Mitzvah several months ago. Before I thought the only relative I had living here was Brother Matthew. My cousin Diana has 3 adorable twin babies and is married to a man, Shai, who is dying of brain cancer! Yesterday he had his second surgery to try to remove tumors that had reappeared after a 7 year “clean brain.” When I arrived, the doctor had just come out to tell the family that they took out as much as they could, but that the cancer had spread. So we sat – about 15 family members and friends, all from his side – and waited for him to come out of recovery. I could tell Diana felt comforted by my presence. She introduced me over and over again as her cousin. We had the opportunity to sit aside from Shai’s family and discuss life and death and family denial and family dynamics.
Shai’s brother was Colonel Dror Weinberg
, ZT”L. For about 30 minutes I sat next to his widow – not knowing whom she was completely – talking about life and family and our journeys to life in Israel. Shai’s parents, as you can imagine, have experienced so much pain! From the murderous death of their son, Dror, to now Shai’s brain cancer.
I was humbled. And I was there for my cousin, supportive and strong, until I got into my car to drive back home. I turned on the ignition and completely broke down. The intensity of it all just got to me.
I was humbled.
Life is so short. Everyday is the greatest gift we have to make memories with our family and friends and to make a difference in the world.
Was watching the Superbowl at the wee hours of the morning a waste of time for me? Maybe some would think so. For me it was making memories, enjoying a part of life I don’t get to enjoy very often.
I am humbled and want to do something with my humility. Now I get to work on what that is.
If you have made it through this long post, I thank you for reading through my ranting.
It feels so good to be able to write.
I am so thankful I can write.
That I can express myself.
That I can see.
That I can think.
Please pray for my cousin, Shai ben Bat Sheva. He should have a refuah shalayma (complete recovery). And if not that, then complete fulfillment from the rest of his days here on this earth, without pain or discomfort.