Touchdown. Fifty-yard line. Flags, penalties. Two-point conversions. These are terms that I was only vaguely familiar with before becoming a football mom.

I have never been a sports fan, aside from playing volleyball and being captain cheerleader for the basketball team in my younger days at school. I have always been the tomboyish sort, but still never into sports.

When my child-bearing days were over, I was more than happily content with not having any daughters but rather three sons. Being a mother to boys is highly rewarding. My oldest son is always concerned with my safety. My middle son isn’t embarrassed to hold my hand while we are walking anywhere. My youngest son is poetically sweet, always writing me little notes such as “Mom you are like a shooting star to me. Your eyes sparkle in the moonlight and your face is the reason I fall asleep at night. I love you mom.”

He is 10 now, and he wrote this a couple of years ago. I’m always getting sweet surprise kisses on my cheeks or my forehead. I knew it would be rewarding to have sons, but I never could have anticipated how rewarding it would be.

When I attend my son’s football games, even though I’m not knowledgeable in all of the terminology, I still sit on the edge of my seat during intense plays or close scores. I still yell along with the other parents to encourage the team. I still get mad at the referee at calls that look unfair. I still have to fight the urge to run out on the field whenever he is down and hurt. And I love every single bit of it.

What I love the most is that at the end of the game, my son walks over to me, his hair matted down with sweat and his jersey entirely drenched. He doesn’t walk over to me hanging his head or dragging himself simply because they lost (they haven’t been able to win a game yet this year with only 10 players on the team).

No, he doesn’t walk up to me with the negative attitude of a sore loser sporting the look of defeat. He walks up to me with a smile on his face because he genuinely enjoyed playing. He always tells me that I am the first thing he wants to see because even if they lose there is no way he can feel defeated when he sees my face. He melts my heart with the simplest words. That is the reward of being a boy mom. That is the pay-out for all the stinky jerseys, the third lost mouth guard of the season, sitting there freezing in 45-degree weather with the wind and rain coming down, running to and from practice every week. That is the priceless reward of being a football mom.

Felicia Smith lives in Leavenworth.