Balls: Memoir of a Football Mom
My project, Balls: Memoir of a High School Football Mom, shows the experience of millions of American women with their teen-age sons. The narrative is set in one of the last male bastions in America, the game of tackle football.
The work started as a series of e-mail messages to my family as I bragged about my youngest son, who elected to play football during his high school years. I was a proud mom, and a mite anxious about his growing-up.
He was a smart underachiever, and for the African American mother of a quiet, heavily muscled African American boy, the United States can be a horror.
And his growing into a man meant a major part of my life, being a mother, was passing away.
Balls is my attempt to celebrate the beauty of ordinary existence, a la Andy Warhol. It removes the blinders to the art of normal life by positioning a mirror to reflect on women who play an unacknowledged role in one of the last strictly male bastions of American life, the game of football.
Conceptually, Balls examines gender issues and asks, at base, in a society that is becoming increasingly gender neutral, what is it that makes a man, or woman?
This is an important question for African-American women in particular, who have been forced by the legacy of slavery all Americans live with. I feel this especially as an African American woman, who before she was wife was a mother forced to adopt traditional male behaviors to insure the survival of her child.