On October 7, 2012, my wife Amie secretly arranged for friends and neighbors to surprise me -- in advance of the turning of the 40th page. After food and various beverages, a memorable game of flag football ensued.
Images courtesy of Barrett Clark.
Surprise! The joy of being genuinely surprised is the joy of a secret kept, as written on my son's face.
Pregame talk. On the field, beside Linwood Holton Elementary School, Amie instructs our daughter Kate in the finer points of flag football strategy.
Side by side. Friends from our family's Clemson period, Michael (left) and Corey (right) wager a bet as to whether or not the new 40-year-old is competitively up for the occasion.
Ready or not. Boys, and other boys, standing in eclectic stages of football preparedness.
Fortune smiles. Here, Kate (7) suggests she is indeed her mother's daughter. Meanwhile, I cannot believe my good fortune.
A hand-off by any other name. My oldest son Camden (10) focuses, with anticipation, on the hand-off. More than ever, in my 40s, I sense that I must too.
In it thick. Neighbor Jeff is caught in the middle. Of note: my face, caught with desire.
A working philosopher. My youngest son Jackson (6) contemplates his pass pattern like Martin Heidegger musing on existential being.
Out of my way. A Cleveland Browns fan by birth, neighbor Les does his best Trent Richardson.
The iconography of football. A school yard, Sunday afternoon, in October, somewhere across America.
Listening skills. God, I pray my children will always lean in to my in-game counsel.
The look. On this afternoon, Tom Brady's quarterback job was never in jeopardy -- though I could've given Tim Tebow a good run. But to look the part, well, that's half of turning 40, I suppose.