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Rated: E · Column · Sports · #1153518
A phone conversation with my nephew
The caller ID says Renee. Only it’s not Renee, it’s Aubry, her son - my nephew.

"Aunt Robieeeeee," he says. His voice swimming in happiness.

"Aubry!" I say, all chipper, hiding my exhaustion. I've just played a long tennis match under the Georgia sun, through the thick humidity only the Deep South can produce. Sweat still pours off my brow even though the last point was played thirty minutes ago. Fatigue has already settled deep into my bones. I need time before I’m up for a coherent phone conversation.

"How ya doing dude?" I ask him.

He's good. He wants specs from me, of a story his mother told him about his cousins (Autumn and Laney), and me, his Aunt Robie.

My brain can't grasp the details. Dehydration robbed my long-term memory. "Give me 15 minutes, I'll call you right back."

An hour and 14 minutes later I punch in his number.

"Heeeey." I'm hoping his second grade mind hasn't been watching the clock. I tell him the story he wants to hear. He laughs and then tells me he's been playing tennis.

"What? Really?" Not even bothering to hid my pride and amazement.

"Yeah, and I’m not half-bad." His first time on court and he's got the game figured out. I chuckle. He's so cute, his voice sounds so little over the phone.

"Yeah," he continues. "Tennis is in my blood." His cousin Laney plays USTA tournaments often, and his Aunt plays, too. Moreover she runs a tennis center. Why wouldn’t tennis be in his blood?

I’m laughing. “It’s in your blood?” I want to hear him say it again.

“Yes it's in my blood.” His words spoken with true conviction. How can I not know this? Know the genetic make up of my own nephew’s blood.

“So is basketball,” he adds.

“And swimming,” I say. His father was on the swim team in high school.

Then he lists all the sports in his blood; football and baseball to name a few.

“Wow!” I’m impressed. “You guys don’t even watch sports in your house!” I sing my words. You know, how you talk to small children. Not the singing you do to babies and cute pets, but seven year old boys who already see themselves as grown up men.

“Uncle Bryan watches sports all the time,” I say. This is true. Sports are on at my house all the time. Boxing, baseball, tennis, basketball, poker, bull riding….you name it, my husband watches it.

“Good,” Aubry says. “Then he will see me when I’m on T.V.”

Aaaawwww, my heart swells with pride - he wants to be a professional athlete! The seed of a dream barely sprouting, and I’m on the phone to hear it.

I say to him, “And then he (Uncle Bryan) will say, ‘I know that Aubry Jones!”

Aubry laughs and I don’t feel quite so bad about losing my match.
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