My wingman’s balls

So, my wingman was late in finding his balls.
Backing up after 2 baby girls with a lad after was tricky. And despite trying to avoid every gender stereotype imaginable, our pre-school years had been filled with dolls and barbies. I birthed my lad into a creative play bubble under the songs of a lace, pink blanket. Because I knew no other way, meaning until kinda recently
neither did he.
My wingman’s first mates were his sisters. In nappies and a skirt, he sat alongside them and sang through dress ups and tea parties. He discovered testosterone at three, and traded his tutu for a pirate sword. A few hormone surges later, he powered his pirate sword into a jedi lightsaber. His games have remained fantasy and all his play stayed imaginative and creative. But this year at lunchtime, he found himself on the school oval. Where there’s little room for ninja moves and saving the universe. Meaning to survive in the playground – he had to find his balls.
The shift from long things to round things was instant. From footballs to basketballs, from soccer balls to cricket balls. They could be big, small, oval or round. It didn’t matter about the size or the shape as long as it could bounce. His sisters didn’t understand and I didn’t have time to play, so at home he mostly played by himself. He left Skywalker for Dusty and lost the force in an AFL sponsored Toyota jingle. His voice dropped an octave but built in decibel reading as he narrated the brilliance of play and began wearing permanent dirt on his knees.
We signed him up for as many after school sports as we could. To run his testosterone-fuelled ball frenzy outside our home walls. But as many of his crew had found their balls earlier, there weren’t too many spaces left in his mates’ local teams. He played a season with some lads that we gradually learned to know. But with the return of the light and the upcoming summer season – my wingman begged me to let him play with his friends.
A mother will move a mountain for her child – so I tried to make some local shifts into teams held tight. We were first told, “not sure”. And then “maybe”. Before being told unfortunately the teams were all full. Meaning – no.
I kept pushing that mountain as I swallowed my pride and begged on my wingman’s behalf. His sorrow had became my sorrow. His pain had became my pain. And when my begging was left unheard – his rejection became mine too. He told me he didn’t care.
But I knew so badly – he did.
Think standing heart openers, core compressions and inversions.
Our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between a time back then and the time as it is now. Meaning it can be hard to differentiate between what is past and what is present. When we think about painful emotions – even if they don’t belong to you – it makes us vulnerable to feel them all over again. Those unhealed spaces can hide deep within our system. Manifesting as weakness or fatigue or pain. But if we can step up to ourselves and resolve emotions that we may be holding inside, we can open up fully to what is without our baggage creating resistance.
As my wingman was told “no,” I realised I felt like it was it also being said to me. Making me re-visit all those times I was told I couldn’t do it, that I didn’t have it, or that I wasn’t enough. All those times when I was rejected, just as we’ve all been on our journeys. But my default coping strategy was always to move forwards by telling anyone who would listen that I didn’t care.
While I secretly squashed my wounds and hurt deep down inside.
I knew that for my wingman and for myself that I had to show another way to move forwards. That I did indeed care and had the strength to navigate a different path. So under the guidance of one of the local coaches, I formed a new team. And filled it with my wingman’s mates from the lunchtime oval. Those who maybe may have all fallen for their balls a little later as he had.
Today my little wingman turns 8. He spent the weekend wearing his Geelong jersey surrounded by his elders, his family and his tribe. He holds a new Sherrin in his hands and wears sleeve tats the full length of his arms. We were told “no” a lot together last month which in a way has bought us even closer together. So when he asked me in the Spring rain if I wanted to play “markers up” with him, even though I’d just washed my hair,
I said yes.


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