I knew it was a mistake when, after the first practice, the coach passed out a sheet of paper entitled The Undertaker -- a football play the players were told to memorize.
On the ride home from practice, Timothy looked at the x's and o's and thought it was a treasure map.
It was a perfectly normal response for a young 2nd grader, and when we got home we taped the "treasure map" to his bedroom door and left it at that. I wasn't going to let some gung-ho, over-zealous, football-crazed coach steal his childhood.
Besides, I loved the fact that a map sparked Timothy's imagination, that he saw the x's and o's and thought of treasures, and pirate ships, and high seas adventure. It was something I understood completely because maps have the same effect on me.
In this age of Google Maps and GPS, which admittedly I do use, I still like a good old fashioned map. One I can spread out on the kitchen table to scribble on and take notes in the margin; a map with cities and towns I can circle or star; a map upon which I can take a bright yellow highlighter and mark our route.
Presently we're planning a trip to New York City, and the first thing I did was order a city guidebook from Amazon (hooray for one click orders!) and some maps. The guidebook is already marked with highlighter, and it is probably 5 pounds heavier because of all the post-it notes, but the maps are what really get my heart pounding.
Avenues and Burroughs, Midtown Manhattan and Times Square, Empire State Building and the United Nations -- the x's and o's made with my Sharpie mark a real treasure map, and my fingers walk where I will soon be.
MapEasy's Guidemaps are my absolute favorite.