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When You’re Expecting

December 28, 2012

There are so few real surprises in this world…so little mystery. We can find the answer to nearly any question if we know where to look or who to ask. Like sports, for instance…

Let’s say your team is really good. Doesn’t matter if it’s high school, college or pro. Or even what sport they play. If they’re really good, they win all the time…or almost all the time. The fans pretty much know the outcome of each game before it’s even played. One year, one of the teams in the Super Bowl was undefeated. I was in the minority as I rooted for the other team. Because I don’t think anyone should win all the time. It’s not good for the psyche…gives the team a big head, and that’s not pretty. That’s just the way I am…I tend to root for the underdog. Maybe because I’ve been the underdog. I know how it feels.

The Green Bay Packers are a really good football team, and they rarely lose.

It’s not like that for us Vikings fans. We never know the outcome of our games. Sometimes, our Viking’s can play a team that’s at the top of the rankings, do everything right, and pull off a win. Then, as the saying goes: The crowd goes wild. Which, under those particular circumstances, is an understatement. Actually, we look at each other in utter disbelief…no one dares speak lest we pop the bubble and ruin the magic of the moment.

That’s been the case up until this year, with few exceptions. This year, the Vikings have been winning more. And as fans, we’re doing our best to support our team. It’s a heavy responsibility, but we’re up for it. We can handle it. We wear our purple and walk down the street with our heads held high. Purple pride. Nice.

When the Packers win, the crowd roars, too. But the Packers are expected to win. Always. And that in itself brings with it a different kind of pressure. Probably the kind of pressure that creates ulcers and tension headaches. For both the team and the fans.

From a personal perspective, I think it’s more fun to be a Vikings fan. There’s a delicious anticipation, like a kid waiting for Christmas. An unknown factor…

Our Vikings can be unpredictable though…they can play the lowest ranked team in the whole league and lose. What’s with that? Do they relax too much and slack off? Or maybe they get cocky, thinking ‘this one’s in the bag?’ Is that how it goes?

Beats me, I don’t even understand the game of football. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. My husband tells me what I need to know. I think he glosses over the technical stuff, though, and I‘m okay with that. Once, not so awfully long ago, I actually stumped him…I asked him if the MVP of the game could be a player on the losing team. Well, plain and simple, he wasn’t sure, so he phoned a friend. And, in case you’re wondering, it’s rare, but it has happened.

As Vikings fans, we ride the proverbial roller coaster all  throughout the season. This year, we actually ranked higher than the Packers at the beginning of the season. For more than one game, too. Every once in a while, we’d see a Packer fan in his green and gold jersey wandering aimlessly through Target, sneering at the rack of Viking’s T-shirts. Kind of pitiful. I don’t think too many Vikings fans act like that…we’re not accustomed to winning game after game, season after season. Winning is still really exciting for us.

Then, just last week, the Vikings, our Vikings, beat the Houston Texans, who were rated first or second in the NFL. Go figure.

This football season is going to be a nail-biter right up until the bitter end. We’re still in it. And we love the excitement of not knowing the outcome.

My husband and l will host our annual Super Bowl Party again this year. And, maybe the Viking’s will be playing that day…who knows? Whatever the outcome, our party, for me, has always been about the people and the food. And it gives me an excuse to make cutout cookies…shaped like footballs, jerseys and helmets. I can’t decorate them until I know who’s in the Super Bowl, what colors they’re wearing, and who the quarterbacks are so I can write their names in icing on the jerseys. The football is just an excuse to get together.

Kind of like a baby shower, which is ranked so much higher than football in the grand scope of things; welcoming a new little life into the world. What fun! But both occasions give us a reason to gather with friends, enjoy good food, and celebrate.

A friend of mine was expecting a grandchild…a little girl. They had a baby shower for the mother-to-be. A wonderful little gala where she received many little pink outfits in graduated sizes. There were crib sheets with dancing pink lambs, pink stuffed bunnies and pink booties trimmed in delicate white lace. Ultra feminine. So sweet. Just perfect. The mother-to-be couldn’t have been happier.

She felt healthy, and was in good spirits, so she thought she’d get ahead of the game; decorate the nursery, in pink of course. She washed all the baby clothes and arranged the nursery just so with the white crib on the wall opposite the door, and the matching rocker near the window. Each dresser drawer was neatly arranged with diapers and little baby clothes, blankets and supplies. She placed the larger sizes in the lower drawers for when her baby grew into them. She even bought a few more accessories, things she simply couldn’t resist as she walked through the baby section at WalMart. Pink things, of course.

And finally, it came time for the baby to arrive. It was an normal labor and delivery, meaning from a medical standpoint, that there were no complications. Everything went as it should. Textbook perfect. Except for one thing…the baby wasn‘t a girl.

She’d given birth to a healthy baby boy. A son. And she was so not prepared for this. Oh, she loved her little boy just as much as she would have loved a girl. It just took her a bit to switch gears. Her husband was on cloud nine. Blue cloud nine. The first thing he did, once he was sure mommy and baby were fine, was run out and buy a baseball glove for the little guy. And a few blue clothes. Things he’d wear if he were a baby.

This was certainly a huge surprise for everyone! Except maybe the baby. He probably didn’t give a hoot. He was who he was, just as God created him, and there was no changing that. His name was Eric. Not Erica. It might have been a bit of an embarrassment for the medical team who read the ultrasound, though. Just reinforces the fact that medicine is not an exact science. And they’re still practicing.

Now little Eric’s mom couldn’t return any of the pink loot from the baby shower…she’d removed the tags and washed everything, remember?

So she had to scramble to find clothing and accessories appropriate for her precious son. His dad was definitely not okay with him wearing pink frills. And daddy was standing firm. No son of his was wearing girlie clothes. Even as a baby. Even when they were alone.

Many times, we think we know how things will go…who will win the game, based on the rankings, or the sex of our babies months before they’re born, based on the technology. A lot of the time, we’re right. But do we ever really know?

Once in a while we get thrown a curve ball…reminded that there are a few things we don’t get to decide. Things we might consider waiting for… Choices to make. Do we want to know if it’s a girl or a boy? What if they’re wrong?

Most of the time, we can trust those test results…but not always. It’s probably a good idea to hold off on washing gender-specific baby clothes, and hanging on to the gift receipts…just in case.

And we get to feel that delicious anticipation, whether we’ve chosen to find out the sex of our babies or not. Whether the test was right or wrong. Whether our team wins the big game or not. Like kids’ waiting for Christmas…the waiting is half the fun.

And afterward, we ask ourselves if it ever really mattered. Was it worthy of the attention we’d paid out? Or was it about the journey all along?

One Comment
  1. Wonderful blog!!! I even watched the Vikings BEAT the Packers today!!!

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