I’m finding it simultaneously amusing and tiring how fixated Ray has become about the Georgia Bulldogs. He notices every license plate, every hat, and every headline- and let me tell you, down here in South Georgia, there are an awful lot of license plates, hats, headlines and “Uga” dogs at every turn. In other words, Ray is finding plenty to obsess about.
He’s not alone, of course, which is why I sat in the car the other day and listened to him expound on the merits of the head coach, the quarterback and the various arrests of most of the players with information he had gleaned from the various males around here. He’s little and he’s smart and he’s anxious, so he’s overcoming a lot. He really wants to find a way to relate to the boys down the street, and so he’s learning football lingo. He’s particularly trying to bond with Emily’s dad and brother who are both big football fans- men who are well over 6′ tall, large in size and in spirit.
But it’s also clear that he’s using sports as a means of controlling anxiety. When he starts ticcing, he looks around and comments- or starts talking about the upcoming Georgia/Florida game- THE rivalry game that attracts thousands of people to the Island to party. It’s quite the holiday around these parts. He wants to know stats, the history of the game, how many times Georgia’s won, and so many other pieces of trivia that I just do not know. He spouts facts as he clicks, as he spits, as he grimaces. It’s now getting to the Pavlovian point where my heart hurts just a little bit more every time I see a license plate, a hat or a white bulldog.
I’m particularly amused at James’ reaction. James did not grow up in the U.S., much less the South, so the whole football mystique is incomprehensible to him. He will watch the Super Bowl with me, but the whole game is something that he doesn’t really enjoy. Soccer is his game- preferably European cup soccer. He rolls his eyes when Ray starts spouting, but them checks his own soccer scores when he’s bored, stressed, or… anxious. He withdraws into his Iphone FIFA site when things around him are stressful- like when his son is ticcing. There I sit, with Georgia Bulldogs on one side, Paok Greek soccer on the other. Like father, like son…