When I married MJ, one of the perks was gaining a whole new kick ass family. And since I never had a little sister, MJ’s cousins Shelby and Mackenzie slid into that role. Mackenzie has been off at college for a few years, but Shelby is 17 and getting ready to graduate high school so she’s been around a little more often. And in that time, she’s not only become my little sister but she’s also one of my son’s favorite people on the entire planet.
Shelby is a tennis player on her high school team, and since I had the day off yesterday I figured I would surprise her by showing up with Will to her tennis match.
Unfortunately, Will was a little TOO excited to see her. As soon as he saw her he tried to rush the court. When I told him no, he then went to the fence and tried to climb it. The entire time he’s shrieking “SHELLLLLY!” at the top of his lungs, which was quickly becoming distracting to the players trying to serve and play out their match. So my mom, who came with us, took him for a car ride so I could watch Shelby play for a while.
But I quickly realized that a 30-year-old standing alone watching a girls varsity high school tennis team is bound to raise a few eyebrows.
In short, I quickly began feeling like quite the pedophile. Especially since, as I told Shelby after the match, I really wish the tennis uniform companies would make more conservative outfits. Because as well as her team played and as proud as I was of Shelby, the old-fashioned protective parent side of me was in full force when I had to listen to random high school students walk by and check out my cousin. This isn’t an exact replica, but this picture shows why I’d be concerned:
So yeah, I was midly uncomfortable and I think I was getting the stink-eye from some of the other folks there.
But what really got me was toward the end of the match, when a guy came up to me and we began chatting. We talked a little bit about how the temperatures were dropping so quickly, and also about the match. But then, he asked me a question I still haven’t gotten over yet.
“So,” the man said. “Are you the parent of one of the girls on the team?”
What the fuck?? I did a double take to see if he was joking, but he clearly was not. Usually I’d have a pretty good comeback for such a crazy question, but this one caught me completely off guard. I quickly explained I was Shelby’s cousin, at which point the man seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.
But there are two scenarios here that would’ve prompted the guy to ask such a question, and neither of them are very flattering:
1) The guy thought I looked old enough to have a child between the ages of 14-18.
2) He really did think I was a pervert and was checking me out
If it’s one, then I’m going to be really depressed. I’m 30 years old. That means I would’ve had to have had a child when I was between 12-16 to possibly have a girl old enough to play on the team. I know it’s not impossible, but it’s severely unlikely. Or, he just thinks I look 10 years older than I really am, which makes me want to light myself on fire. MJ, of course, was tickled beyond belief by this guy’s comment when I told her. Even though she’s an old lady who’s a full two years older than me, she relishes the discomfort I feel when she makes me realize it’s not totally incomprehensible that I’m old enough to be mistaken for the father of a teenager.
But if he was just doing some reconnaisance because he thought I was a pedophile, then I really wish I had toyed with him. If I had just been a little quicker, the conversation could’ve gone something like this:
GUY: “So, are you a parent of one of the players?”
ME: “Nope, I’m just Facebook and MySpace friends with some of them.”
All that aside, I did have an ulterior motive to see Shelby play. You see, she’s also got MJ’s swagger and she thinks she can actually beat me at tennis. Even though I told her I played high school varsity tennis myself a mere 13 years ago, she’s still got this delusional idea she can best me at an athletic undertaking. So I went yesterday to support her, but also to scout her. She’s better than I thought she’d be, but I think I can still take her. Besides, I don’t lose to girls.
Actually I think I may be screwed, but I’m going to play her anyway. Depending on the outcome of that game, stay tuned for a future blog entry.