My son has always had a mind for numbers. When he was a year old and obsessed with creating patterns with his blocks, a math teacher mom-friend predicted,"He's sure to be an arithmetic whiz!" We smiled and nodded and went about our business.
When he was three years old and had every number of every NASCAR driver memorized, it made for a great party trick. Adults, dads especially, marveled at his ability to connect Tony Stewart with #14 and Sam Hornish Jr. with #77. Easily. Quickly. With great confidence.
At four and five, his numbers fascination found root in the baseball box scores in the newspaper. His Kindergarten teacher hooked him on the Cool Math For Kids website.
All of this is great. Certainly, I'm thrilled that he loves patterns, numbers and math.
This passion, however, has now led to a crazy need to research, learn and announce football statistics. He doesn't just reenact the LSU/Alabama game in the middle of our family room, he does it while spouting off statements like:
"There goes the Honey Badger again! His 98-yard punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas set an SEC record."
He doesn't just follow Andy Dalton, former TCU QB hero and now Cincinnati Bengal's rookie sensation. He knows that the Cincinnati locals have dubbed Dalton "The Red Rifle." He knows that Dalton is neck and neck with Cam Newton for rookie of the year honors and can make a case for Dalton's win, based on touchdowns, passing yards and margin of victory.
With the holiday season, comes the height of the College Football Bowl season and the NFL playoffs. My sweet child runs around the house shouting:
"Mom, did you know the the Colts have the first draft pick next year? Do you think they'll take Luck?'
"Hey, did you know that Drew Brees surpassed Dan Marino's single season passing record? What do you think he'll do to celebrate? Do you get cake for that?"
"This is the first time since the formation of the BCS that two teams from the same conference will meet a second time in a season...in a rematch for the championship. LSU won 9-6, the first time, and I'll bet they'll win again. They just need to score touchdowns and not field goals."
Can we put this brain for numbers to better use?
Should we be forcing multiplication flash cards, instead of player stats?
Surely the memorization of the US Presidents is more useful than the memorization of Big Ten conference games.
Will this walking, talking small human football encyclopedia ever come in handy, in school or real life?
Or does it really matter? He's a smiley, active, silly smart seven-year old, who happens to know more about football than most grown-ups. He reads the paper. He cheers for his favorite players. He celebrates victories with tremendous joy.
We'll leave him alone. For now.