Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Three Eagle Mom

My good friend Jan just had her third and last son achieve the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America program. Last weekend she planned and pulled off an Eagle Court of Honor that made planning a wedding look like a stroll in the park. She then collapsed and slept for three days in a row.

Now I realize that most of you are familiar with the requirements that a young scout must pass in order to achieve the coveted rank of Eagle. And once those requirements are met, the scout receives a great deal of attention and recognition for that achievement.

However… few people (other than Eagle Mom’s themselves) realize how much work is required of the poor scouting mother. There is no scouting mother’s web page, thick paperback program guide explaining the duties of the mom of an Eagle to be, and no presidential letter thanking dear old mama for getting her kid to make the grade.

So, in an effort to correct this scouting oversight… let me share with you the six requirements to becoming an Eagle Mom. (Note: This is simply the opinion of the writer and not of the BSA, because as we know, the writer thinks she is very funny… and the BSA does not.)

Requirement 1 – Your scout must be actively involved in the scouting program for a minimum of six months. This means that you must use whatever means at your disposal to separate said scout from his video games/TV/computer/girlfriend and make sure he shows up to his scouting activities. It is best to keep a large supply of neckerchiefs and holders on hand as these can disappear at a moment’s notice thus giving said scout a reason to complain and waste time getting ready. Also important to note is that dances, hay rides and pretty much anything involving the opposite sex does not constitute required scout meetings.

Requirement 2 - Your scout must demonstrate he lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and find people willing to write letters saying that he does. For Eagle Mom’s this means nagging, lots and lots of nagging. “Did you get those letters written? Did you find that address? Envelopes and stamps are in the same drawer they have been for the past ten years! People need more time than one afternoon to write a recommendation!

Requirement 3 - Your scout must earn a total of 21 merit badges. Moms, that means that you must become experts in 21 different subjects, and guess what… they aren’t stuff we already know how to do, like juggling a crying baby, a frying pan full of hot oil and a telemarketer all at the same time. It’s stuff like coin collecting, ham radios and my favorite… personal management. You know that kid that you can’t get to bring his dirty clothes from his bedroom to the laundry room without following him with a whip? Yup, that’s the one that’s supposed to learn personal management.

Requirement 4 – Your scout needs to hold and carry out a position of responsibility for a minimum of six months. And again, it’s not the type of responsibility that we mom’s would find really useful like say being in charge of the laundry for six months or simply taking Fido on a walk every night like your scout promised when you got the dog in the first place. It means more driving them to meetings, more reminding them to make phone calls and more last minute trips to the store (cause you can’t have a weenie roast when no one was assigned to bring the hot dogs).

Requirement 5 – Your scout must complete the infamous Eagle Project. A fun little activity where for every one hour your scout puts into it; our Eagle Mom must put in five. First she must help her scout come up with a reasonable project. Something a little less dramatic than a star-studded charity concert to benefit the Haitian relief effort , and a little bigger than clearing the table after an especially large Sunday family dinner. This can be a challenging task for the mom of a boy who takes twenty minutes just to pick out a candy bar at the store.

After providing an extensive list of possible project ideas, and then threatening to turn off all electrical devises in the house if they don’t hurry and choose something, an Eagle Mom must “help” her son plan this event, “remind” him to call all those who will assist in the project, “drive” him to the various locations to pick up supplies and make arrangements and then “provide” four dozen pizzas during the day of the project.

Then when the work is completed, the project is done and the video game beckons, she must push again so that her son will complete his paper work and get credit for all her… oops I mean his work.

Requirement 6 – We are almost there. Now that the project is done, the merit badges are sewn neatly down the sash and the paper work is assembled; your little scout must add a statement of his ambition and life purpose. Just a note… they are looking for BIG things like saving the ozone layer or creating world peace. So getting to level 19 on Virtual Quest, saving Princess Alala and conquering the wicked wizard Bladamad will not work, even if in fact that is your scout’s main ambition in life at the moment.

If after completing all six requirements, you and your scout are still speaking to each other, there is one last final requirement, and mom it’s all yours. You get to plan the huge multi-media event honoring your son for all his work and effort in earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

Then and only then can you collapse and sleep for three days straight! You deserve it. And to all the Eagle Mom’s out there reading this blog, YOU are my heroes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Basketball Bliss

I’ve been hanging out at a lot of basketball games lately. I have a teenage son who’s good… make that really good at basketball and he’s a member of three different teams. What this means for me, is that I attend as many as six games a week.

Now I have to say that of all the sports I might possibly be required to sit through in the name of motherly love, basketball would be my game of choice for several reasons.

First, it’s played in doors.

This boy is my youngest, but not by far the first to express an interest in sports. For two years we spent many a freezing Saturday morning wrapped in blankets watching a bunch of little kids in brightly colored jersey’s and matching knee high socks run up and down the field chasing a black and white ball.

I am not a soccer fan. I don’t understand the game and I find it boring. Yes I know, half the world thinks the sun rises and sets on soccer and to them I apologize. The only pleasant experience I ever had with the game was during my senior year in high school when a good looking blond with well defined quadriceps inspired me to spend a few afternoons on the bleachers with my girlfriends watching his attractive physic run up and down the field.

After soccer it was karate. Which, if you don’t mind my saying so, is about as exciting as watching a room full of middle age women taking an aerobics class. Although we did get a nice selection of colored belts out of the experience. Colored karate belts have a multitude of uses, we discovered. You can tie a baby-sitter up so tight her parents have to come over to undo the knots. With a little imagination, you can rig your sister’s door so that it can’t be opened from the inside. (This is especially effective if she is already inside the room at the time.) And you can create a visually stimulating if somewhat destructive form of art when the belts are combined with a ceiling fan, and tennis shoes.

But I do like basketball. I think its fun to watch the boy’s race up and down the court, jumping and leaping around one another in an effort to get a ball into an overhead basket.

Second, I like the facts that the points add up fast.

As a young girl I grew up in Oakland, California home of the world famous Oakland A’s baseball team. My great-grandfather was a huge fan, and I remember being taken to one or two games when I was little. It was by far the most boring sport ever invented. (Even worse than karate). It seemed to take forever for either team to make a point and by the time they did, I had lost interest entirely.

Now of course, if you played your cards right you could pass the time eating peanuts, hot dogs and other junky baseball fare… that wasn’t too bad. And the organ was always entertaining to listen to. But the nuances of the game passed right over my head. They still do.

Third, I like having the opportunity to make lots of noise in support of my team without people looking at me like I’m a wierdo.

Before the basketball season began, my son chose to play volleyball. Another sport I’m not too fond of. I was actually beaten up in junior high for missing a ball lobbed in my general direction during a rousing game of volleyball in PE.

But what I really hate about the game is how one team has to screw up in order for the other team to make a point. So here are all these cute little junior high kids, focused and determined. Our team serves and the other side stands stone still watching the ball hit the court, waiting for someone to jump in and try to hit it back. Pure humiliation. I can’t very well start clapping and yelling “Way to Go” without feeling like I’m rubbing the failure into the other team like lemon juice on a paper cut.

Not so with basketball. I can yell and scream to my heart’s content and never feel bad about offending the other team.

The one thing about basketball I don’t understand it the fascination many of the coaches and parents have in badgering the referees. I’m no expert, but in the twenty or thirty games I’ve witnesses over the past few months, I have never seen a referee change a call. Not once. Even if the coach pulls him aside and accuses him of being half blind and with a personal vendetta against blue jersey’s. They make the call, they stick by it. Still there seems to be some impossible hope that if one yells loudly and obnoxiously enough, those guys in the black and white stripes will turn around and admit, “You are so right. What was I thinking? It wasn’t really a foul after-all. Thanks for pointing that out to me.”

So all in all, I gotta say, I love watching my son play basketball. And I thank my stars every day that he found his talent in dribbling and shooting. Just imagine if he’d wanted to do something horrible like crocodile wrestling…. or ice hockey. Yikes!

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