THE SONIC BOOMER
Last weekend, my grandson Orion referred to the month of February as “the women’s month.” I thought he meant because it has both my birthday and Valentine’s Day in it, but it turned out he was referring to women gaining the right to vote.
Still, just like a lot of other things that are magnanimously conferred upon women (usually without asking us first), I wondered if this meant the other 11 months belonged to the men. Just like Black History Month (also February) sort of infers we only need to study Black history one month a year — the shortest month at that.
And I know his teacher (or whomever) meant well when they told him this. But when I was very young, some other well-meaning person told me, “Girls can be anything they want to be!” Well, first of all, no. Even a toddler knows a girl can’t be a horse or a building or a car. So, that’s just dumb.
And second of all, even though I was young, I wondered why they would say that. Why did they feel the need to reassure me in that way? To help me set goals? To validate my aspirations? Because my first thought, as that young, young girl, was, “Of course they can. Unless, of course, you’re meaning that they can’t. That there’s some hill to climb? That we are in some way — inferior?”
So, I felt the need to counteract that in some way, to get him thinking about assigning things to people, and I blurted out, “That means we get the Super Bowl Yay!”
In Kansas City, where he lives, the Super Bowl is no joke — especially this year. Everything is red and yellow (or gold). You get free hamburgers, drinks, meals, balloons, stickers, discounts — you name it, there’s some way to save on it because the Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl.
But now a sad story: Every student in Orion’s third-grade class had to do a video report about someone who made a difference in the world. Orion chose Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ star quarterback (and philanthropist), but so did another child, Max. The teacher had them draw straws to see who got Mahomes, and Orion won. Max immediately burst into tears.
Graciously, Orion gave him Mahomes. “It’s OK, I’ll do Tom Brady,” Orion said (the Buccaneers’ star quarterback). In Kansas City, that was a sacrifice, and his teacher made a big deal of it.
On the day of the report, each boy wore their team’s jersey. Orion’s dad had added a Bucs’ printout to his black baseball helmet, effectively “converting” it to a football helmet. The reports were given. All was well. But as the kids made their way out to their parents’ cars after school, two teachers asked who Orion was representing. When he told them, they laughed derisively — and Max joined in! Orion held in his tears until he got into the car, then broke down in huge, heaving sobs.
As the Grandma, I was ready to march down there and speak to the principal, but his mother stopped me. Instead, writing a note to Orion’s teacher, hoping she’d mention it to the other teachers. We agreed that, as for Max, well, he’s just a kid following the example of his teachers.
So, I’m openly cheering for the Chiefs on Sunday but, if Tom Brady takes it for Tampa, well, I’m good with that, too.