Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's a heart attack in my future.

Jake has been waiting for years to play football.  Our county league starts at age eight, which seemed like a good age to this mommy.  At least, it did when he was five.  Several years down the road.  Until then, we could stick with soccer and baseball.  I, for one, am much more comfortable with those no-pads-needed sports!

But guess what.  Years do go by, and cute little five-year-old boys do grow up into big kinda-tough eight-year-old boys.  And mommies find themselves registering their babies for the local tackle football league.  Oh goodness.

So, here's where I admit my bad mothering thoughts to all the world.  On Jake's first day of practice - a 100+ degree day in August - I sent him off with his daddy for two hours of real football drills.  I knew there would be yelling coaches and hot sweaty bodies under heavy, uncomfortable pads.  I knew he would get hit and knocked down.  And while I hoped and prayed he wouldn't actually get hurt, I also hoped and prayed that he would hate it.  I had my little speech all planned out.  You know the one... "You made a commitment to the team, and you will play - and give it your all - for the whole season.  But then you never have to play football again."  It would be a teaching moment and my heart would only have to suffer through one season of tackle football.  Oh, and did I mention I really hoped he would sit the bench all season?  It's true.

But here's the kicker.  That first night after his first practice, Jake walked in the house beaming.  I've never seen him so happy - no, overjoyed - about anything.  Ever.  And after a shower - I couldn't actually stay in the same room with him due to the overpowering smell of hot, sweaty boy - he told me how much he loves football.  Later, his daddy told me how practice went down, and yes, my boy got yelled at, and run hard, and hit and knocked down a-plenty.  But my boy also got to hit and knock down somebody else's boy.  And he liked that.

It's been over a month.  Jake's practiced three times a week for two hours at a time.  He's played in two games.  Should have been three, but now we're all sick - except for Camden, of course, who started it all - so the Wildcats had to struggle through last night's game without their star second-string offensive lineman.  Sorry Wildcats.  He really wanted to be there.  And after all these hours of the hardest work this little man has ever had to do, he's even more in love with football.

This mommy's dreams of not worrying about concussions and broken bones and torn whatnots have been successfully dashed.  I've got a lot of worrying in my future.

But when I see that boy's gleefull face, I figure I'll gladly worry.  He sure does love the game.

I think it's a good thing these boys wear helmets.  Because that cute face couldn't possibly cause the fear and intimidation he'd like to instill in his opposing defensive lineman.  But I sure do think it's sweet!

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