This morning at breakfast, I attempted to get as much information about how well (or not) the lacrosse tryouts had gone for Max. I had seen Max just briefly the night before as he’d walked in the kitchen door after the tryouts. He’d grunted and then headed upstairs for a shower.
“So? Is he okay?” I asked Scott.
“He’s fine. He’s just extremely tired. This is quite the initiation into high school athletics. It’ll be a long week,” Scott said, with a matter-of-fact tone.
Later, in the evening, I poked my head around the half-closed door of my son’s bedroom. I asked the long-bodied boy, who was still and hidden beneath the gray puffy comforter, if he were, indeed, feeling alright.
“I’m fine, Mom.”
“How were the auditions?”
“Tryouts. You mean tryouts.”
“Yeah, that’s what I meant. Sorry. (Pause) Did you drink enough water? Are you light-headed? Are your muscles cramping?
The answers came, deliberate and heavy with fatigue, “Yes. No. Little bit.”
“So everything’s okay?” I asked one more time.
“Yes. (Sigh.) Vitals are good.”
In the light of day, this morning, I had more questions about the auditions, I mean tryouts, and tried to think of them all while making school lunches and tipping back swallow after swallow of coffee. The steamy brew warmed my throat, almost too much, and I could feel the heat hit my stomach.
“You got a part on the team?”
“Position. Not a ‘part.’ It’s not a play, Mom.”
“Position. Right. Position. (Swallow.) You got the position you tried out for? ‘Attack,’ right?”
“Hmmm….it’s kind of hard to explain.”
“I’m eating right now.”
“Are you on the team or not?”
“Pretty much everyone’s on the team. But this whole week is one big tryout. Like a boot camp. Like Hell. Those kids who can’t really handle it won’t make the team.”
“Did anyone pass out or puke?”
“I knew you’d ask that. One kid got sick but since I’m eating here I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You really want to do this? It sounds awful.”
I take another coffee swallow, but it’s too large a gulp and some coffee dribbles down my chin. No one has seen this. I reach for a used paper towel, which sits nearby on the counter, and dab at my lips and wipe my wet chin.
“Of course I wanna do this. It’s awesome. (Pause.) Can you wash those red lacrosse shorts?” (Max nods toward the red shorts that rest on the floor in a small heap before the washer and dryer.)
“Sure. Every day I have to do that…wash the shorts?”
“Don’t worry, Dad bought me extra sets of shorts. He got me a high school lacrosse uniform package at the Coach’s meeting we went to last week. Remember? I told you.”
“Good one, Dad.”
“Actually, I was the one who told him to do it since I knew you’d get spazzy about the lacrosse laundry. It comes with shirts, more socks. All the stuff.”
“Well, good thinking, Big Boy.”
“Also, I need to eat two eggs right when I get home from school.”
“Yes, I know, for your protein snack.”
“Well, it will kind of be for snack-dinner because I have lacrosse practice at seven o’clock every night this week.”
“What about tomorrow night, on Wednesday? That’s your bad day. You have Symphony, then Winter Percussion and then — ”
“Jazz Band. I know. I’ve already talked to Mr. Pwu and sent the email that’s required to get out of that evening rehearsal.”
“I’m not going to be able to keep all your logistics straight, Max.”
“Dad said I had to do a Google Calendar. The print out is on your desk. It has my schedule all the way through April.”
“All the way through April, huh?”
“Does it have all the games for the season on it?”
“I don’t really understand how you play the game. Can you explain it?”
“Not right now. I don’t have time. (Lengthy sigh.) You should probably go online and study the mechanics of the game so you don’t embarrass yourself….or me.
“Pfffft. I understand basketball.”
“Well I’m not playing basketball. I’m playing lacrosse. And you better get ready because I’m going to kick some ass.”
I give Max a look. “You don’t really look like you can kick any ass right now. You look kind of slow-moving and sore.”
“It’s only the first day of tryouts, Mom. I just woke up. In a couple of weeks I’m going to kick ass. (Pause.) Don’t forget the eggs and to wash the shorts.”
“Okaaay. I heard ya. Have a good day at school.”
“Yup.” Max slides off the counter stool, groans a little when he bends over and hoists the backpack onto his shoulder. I watch him shuffle out the door. I’ll see him later…for the egg snack, I think as I stand there swallowing. The coffee is now lukewarm and has turned slightly bitter to my tongue because of the loss of heat. I take my coffee cup in hand, walk to my bedroom and settle down at my desk. I see the Google Calendar Max has prepared for me. First, before I transpose his calendar information into my “Mother Of All Calendars,” I’ll type in “Lacrosse” on my browser, just to see what kind of information pops up. Yes…here’s something that catches my eye, “Lacrosse Injuries. Concussions. Helmets.”
I swallow some more of the bitter liquid and begin my research.