Aunt visits nephew’s college football game, but gets snubbed
Dear Annie: Yesterday my husband and I spent three hours on the road, traveling from our home to our nephew’s college football game. We told my sister we planned to attend his game and gave up tickets to a Division I game in our hometown. I called my sister on the way there to ask whether she could save us seats. It was then that I found out she wouldn’t be attending her son’s game. Instead, she had gotten tickets to the game we were missing.
The weather was perfect. The tickets cost only $5 each. And our nephew played about half the game.
The problem occurred after the game, when we stood on the field. We were next to my brother-in-law, waiting to greet our nephew, but we were completely ignored the whole time. First my nephew stopped at the other end of the field to greet his girlfriend. He finally appeared on our end and stopped on the right side of us to greet his friends and their father. He fought back tears as he stood looking at his dad and saying he hadn’t played well. We watched as my nephew took off all the tape on his hands and wrists. We kept staring at him, thinking he would at least look at us. But after another five or six minutes with no acknowledgment from my nephew or his dad, we headed for the car.
Were we expecting too much from our nephew to at least look at us? His team had lost in the final seconds, and the coach was furious at the whole team. I understood that our nephew was upset and feeling awful about himself, but how could he have not made eye contact with the relatives who have spent every major holiday and family event with him since he was born?
Is this the new behavior for college students? My sister says that he was disappointed and that she knows her husband is rude but there is nothing she can do about it. I always have everyone here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Should I go ahead with all that entails and pretend that all is well? Do you have any advice for me or others who experience this type of behavior? — Disappointed Aunt
Dear Disappointed Aunt: No, you should not go on as if all were OK. It’s time to have an open and honest conversation with your nephew and his father about your feelings. Tell your nephew that you enjoyed watching him at the game. Clearly, your nephew was disappointed with his playing and the team’s loss, and that is always tough for any player. But disappointment is never an excuse for rudeness. Perhaps he didn’t see you or was embarrassed and didn’t want to cry in front of you. Regardless, you will never know until you speak with him and tell him how much you enjoyed just watching him.
His father is a different story. If your sister won’t do anything about his behavior, then it is up to you and your husband to have a kind and honest conversation with him to let him know that your feelings were hurt when he didn’t acknowledge you at his son’s game.
Only after you have these conversations should you decide about Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays are a time of forgiveness and celebration, so if I were in this situation, I would invite them and not let this one snub affect the holiday plans.