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Dinda and Her Two Grandsons from San Diego

I open my birthday card and surprise!, it’s tickets to the Chargers football game. Oh great, I say, as anyone who knows me knows I’m no sports aficionado. I’ll do a few baseball games, lots of basketball, but football?. Once when I was newly married, I did my new husband a huge favour by attending a game in Ottawa – and actually endured the game in the pouring rain. I vowed to the stars, beating my chest, never again.  

But the Charger ticket was a gift from my son- and my husband reminded me this would be a family affair as my two grandsons would be visiting San Diego after skiing Tremblant and the Chargers were their favourite team and it would be fun. I grumbled with a smile.Anything for those little guys.

Thankfully the rain in San Diego that absolutely thrashed the city occurred the day before the game so at least I didn’t have to watch guys in tight pants run amok in the downpour.

Usually San Diego boasts perfect weather but because of La Niña and the Santa Anna winds this year, California is a bit off, no doubt miffed that Trump wound up as president so the climate is severely out of sorts.

So we set off and I learn about “tailgating”at football games – which means that people sit in parking lots near the game before kickoff, cooking their dinners and imbibing.It reminded me of Rio on New Years where families from grandmas to screaming infants all dressed in white gathered on the Copacabana with their hibachis to cook their meals, offer gladiolus to the sea and basically, just hang out together. I had previously believed “ tailgating” meant driving too close to the car ahead of you. I now comprehended in football lingo that sitting by your car in a smelly parking lot and eating a salad near your gas tank must refer to the “ tail “ of your car.Maybe there’s a football connection here that alludes me.

During the game, one of my grandsons asked me,”Why do they fight for the ball? It’s like playing a game, tackling one another and trying to grab the ball?” He suggested that they should politely stop and enquire “Would you like the ball?”… then tip their caps to one another.Sounded more gentlemanly to me too.

Still my eye was constantly drawn to the gold pompoms of the cheerleaders who did, to my mind, a much better job than the girls at the Raptors’ Games, whose moves are often vulgar and not very pretty, especially in their costumes that scream polyester.Here in San Diego, these girls looked like real American girls.

After the game, in the car on the way back, my son asked, “How did you like it!” . One grandson replied , “ It was boring and I didn’t understand it”. Also it was really really long. That’s why it was boring.” Me too, I thought even though my son had provided a tutorial on how the field was divided into 10 yard segments and the teams had to pass or kick the football down the field.

My other grandson said he liked the game a little bit, but not surprisingly, not that much. He bought a little stuffy bear because he had some money to spend. So that was good.We shared a very long bag of caramel ( and very expensive) popcorn ,but we didn’t finish it. Actually one of our little guys wondered,” I like balls, but why not baseball or soccer? That’s better than football.”

My little guys also hiked at Torrey pines and appeared to be more impressed with the natural beauty of rocks and surf. They had created a scavenger hunt and found all the things on the list: a caterpillar, a butterfly, ,a stick, a spider, dog poo, and cactus. They watched the ocean. They explained the waves make shapes with the water; however, they related that they couldn’t feel the breeze. They also followed a path of 118 steps that went nowhere, having to go back up and around to the top: much to their Poppa’s annoyance.They brought back beautiful rocks. And let’s face it, Torrey Pines is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

So besides the Lego Show in Balboa Park, an afternoon at local Doyle Park with its many attractions upon which to swing, slide and twirl, the awesome Disney movie Sing, chocolate at Ghiradelli , Chinese Food at PJ Chang’s, the impact of football was lessened. And for me, their Dinda, I was very very happy.

Full disclaimer: Written with the grandsons.

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