May 23, 2009. Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC. Remember the game?
My guess is probably not, at least not much. The team didn't play all that well, and it was one of the oh-so-many draws of the season. It was not exactly a game to remember. Except for me, because it started about two hours after I learned my son had cancer.
The thing about finding out someone you love has cancer: at that moment, cancer is all that exists. You're standing there, and you're looking into the future, and you're imagining your seconds and minutes and days and months, and the only thing you can see filling them is "CANCER" in big red letters.
And of course this is my non-talkative, mildly introverted kid, so that afternoon the conversation goes something like this:
Me: How are you feeling?
Me: So... You're feeling okay?
And so, to fill in silence, I say, "Sounders are playing tonight." I feel kind of guilty saying it, too. Like I'm denying cancer its rightful place, front and center.
But he's probably the biggest fan in the family next to me, and so he says, "Do you want to watch?" And it may be my imagination, but I think he's as relieved as I am at the idea.
So we watch the game, together, and we chat about Ljungberg and his migraines, and Fredy's scoring slump, and all the rest of the stuff you talk about when you're watching the game.
And, to be honest, the team was rather awful. Yet Fredy broke that scoring slump, and even after Colorado scored two while playing well, Nate Jaqua somehow managed to come back with the equalizer.
It made me realize that sometimes life just sucks, and things don't always go the way you plan. But if you're lucky you can just power through and get the draw. Y'know?
It also made me realize that if we could take those two hours that night and make them not about cancer, then maybe, just maybe, we could do the same the next day, and the next, and the next, as we made our way through this. Our family could survive the day-to-day, and the cancer would not own us.
And that's the way it played out. Those two hours of normal, the first two hours of normal, were the biggest present the Sounders gave me this year.
Thank you, Sounders, for that gift.
(And happy New Year!)
(P.S. My son is done with treatment and still doing well, with a 90-95% chance that the disease will not come back. Thanks again for the positive thoughts and prayers.)