Fighting At The Football Game With “North Korea”

DSC00201As a kid, I loved going to sporting events with my Father. While this was never his thing, he took me to games because he knew I loved it.  The most memorable game we ever went to was a NY Jets football game. I think I was 9 at the time, and we didn’t even stay for the second half.

Now I will make two generalizations about 9-year old boys, generalizations that I think apply to boys of all ages. First, boys do not like leaving games early. Second, regardless of all the evidence arrayed against them, boys never think they have misbehaved nor deserve any punishment.

I was no exception.  When it came to punishment, my Achilles heel was my sports trading card collection, which I loved.  My parents would seize my beloved cards whenever they [mistakenly] believed that my behavior was particularly out-of-line.  To me, this was a violation of The Geneva Convention. Even if I was the most loyal and dedicated spy, and the whole world was counting on me; I would squeal in a second if it meant the release of my cards.

Needless to say, whenever my cards were seized, I tried everything to secure their safe return. I pleaded, negotiated, requested mercy, promised I would never misbehave again, mobilized international opinion, blackmailed (this always worked really badly), and shamelessly bawled liked a baby. I even committed to not coming out of my cell (bedroom) until my cards were back safe and sound with me. Like a true martyr, I wouldn’t even eat. I do note with pride that I once made it a whole 45 minutes before I crawled through the brush out of my room and made a B-line for the fridge.

But the Axis of Evil (Mom and Dad) and their hearts of stone were always impervious to my pain, pleas, and conniving.

Now it just so happened that the Jets football game described above fell smack in the middle of one particular two-week period of hostilities during which the Axis of Evil had taken my cards as their prisoners.

Game day was brutally cold and windy, as nasty a day as you can imagine.  Dad (the male member of the Axis of Evil), aka North Korea, asked if we could take a pass on the game.  A man of his word, I knew that he would not back out of his commitment to take me.  Although I too didn’t want to go because of the weather, we were at war (or at least I was).  I had no choice but to deny North Korea’s audacious request.

During the whole ride out to the game and entire first half, I escalated my efforts to bring my cards home safe and sound, doing everything I could to break North Korea’s resolve.  Now, I was in violation of the Geneva Convention.  But he was an adversary of a different kind; nobody could break him. As the first half of the game ended, we extremely cold and miserable adversaries exchanged words:

North Korea: Can we please leave now?

The Big Milkshake in a moment of unexpected inspiration: If we leave now, can I have my cards back?

My Dad (without a second of thought): Yes!

What?  I couldn’t believe my ears. He could be broken…no not by me, but by Mother Nature!

Neither of us could have been happier.  The moment we signed our Mother Nature brokered peace agreement, we bolted from our seats, hustled to the car, and passed the most wonderful car ride home. We enjoyed physical and emotional warmth, laughter, and the second half of the game on the radio.

I don’t remember whether the Jets won that day, but it doesn’t really matter because I will always recall with fondness that afternoon with “North Korea” my Father.