I originally posted this last fall but since it is football season, I felt it might help some moms that are on the fence about their sons playing the game. The rewards of the game aren't necessarily reflected only on the scoreboard. Enjoy!
I used to hate football. I mean really, really hate it. I hated football so much I didn’t even like to hear it on the tv in my house. That was 12 seasons ago, and today, as college football season gets underway, I am mourning the loss of my personal connection to football.
Last season marked the last football season that my son Chase (aka Big Dumb Jock) played. It was and remains bittersweet. This August, for the first time in 12 years, I didn’t have to worry about heat stroke, heat cramps, torn acl’s, or concussions in preseason practices. I suddenly have all my Saturdays to take weekend trips and enjoy fall festivals. For the first time in 4 years we don’t have to worry about Wonder Hubby getting time off to travel to games. Sounds good, huh…..not! Like all good things it all went way too fast.
I would have bet the bank 12 years ago when BDJ announced the middle school coach wanted him to play football that I would never like football, much less mourn it’s passing in our lives. I mean, really, how smart can these guys be to spend hours bashing heads over a little ball? Live and learn as they say.
I also would have never dreamed that football would be such a valuable asset in our lives and a huge factor in shaping BDJ into the man he is today. What happens on the field on any given Thursday night, Friday night, or Saturday afternoon is really a tiny piece of what the game of football really is. I watched as my son learned lesson after lesson through football that has and will continue to serve him well in life. The game is truly what you make it. BDJ decided at 12 years old that he would play football all the way through college. To make that dream a reality took an incredible amount of physical and mental work. I watched as football helped him learn to make and meet goals, doing the extra hard work on and off the field. I watched on vacations as we slept in and ate “vacation” food as he rose early to run on the beach and turned down soft drinks and junk food. Football taught him a strong work ethic and fierce determination. I watched as he learned accountability to himself, his coach, and his team. Through football he learned what it is to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Football helped him learn responsibility, how to work out your frustrations, to win and lose, and to truly give your all.
|Headed to the end zone - High School|
|Senior Year High School|
We lovingly call him BDJ but he is anything but dumb. We always stressed grades first, football after that. That guidance served him well as he was able to have the advantage of both playing football and having great grades to open the door to a very elite private college. Football allowed a door to open that may not have on grades alone. The opening the door to the college he attended opened another door allowing him to have an advantage going into his dream career. For our family, football has been a great asset.
As a family, (immediate, grandparents, aunts, uncles and at times great-grandparents) football gave us a great family time opportunity. We attended games together, followed the newspapers for pictures or mentions of BDJ, and enjoyed many after game dinners and visits. It even was a great exercise tool at times…..for me anyways, as I had a tendency to run in the stands as my son carried the ball toward the end zone.
As a mom I spent many hours in parking lots waiting for practices to end and many hours worrying about the bumps and bruises . The emotional toll of the ups and downs is sometimes overwhelming. The picture below shows our son after his last home game in high school. The raw emotion of this photo still brings tears to my eyes. The emotion on that night was unbelievable, my heart truly broke for him as this chapter of his life closed.
|After Last High School Home Game|
|Ringing the Bell After a Win - Rhodes College Tradition|
|Action College Senior Year 2010|
|Rocking A Mohawk - I can't believe I liked it! ONLY for Football Season.|
The below picture is of my son after his final college game. The emotions I felt that day were not as sad as they were as high school ball finished, but more of joy. Joy for him as this picture captures the day that was the culmination of 11 years of work to reach his goal.
|11 Seasons of Work for This Moment|
As this season gets underway, I find I am missing the anticipation of what big play BDJ might make, the pride in seeing him take another step toward his goal, the excitement of traveling to games, and the commradierie football brings. I will never again feel the excitement of game day where I am too nervous to eat. I will never again feel the excitement of watching him dive into the end zone and listen to the crowd cheer. Not as a mother anyway….but there is always the possibility of grandchildren, right? On the upside, I will never again have to smell that special after game smell that he insisted on sharing with me through hugs! So to the mothers of little boys……..football is far more than bashing heads on a football field once a week, it just could be some of the happiest moments of your life.