Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No Pop Warner Football for Britt

Or any other kind of football, for that matter. Most likely, never again. After a stellar season of playing when he was a first grader, we were gung ho for his second season, which was last year. We couldn't wait! Sadly, it ended up being one of the most hair raising experiences of our parenting career.

Everything happens for a reason, though, and the good news is that we don't miss it a bit, and after we made our decision, we started seeing all the new information about head injuries and the damage concussions do and how most coaches and NFL players don't even let their own boys play tackle football. It's been a blessing to us not to have to rush home and rush back to practice for two hours and to schedule every Sunday around games. Actually, not having a football schedule running our life has been a HUGE relief!

Britt had such a tough season last year because he was one of the only well-behaved, nice boys on the team. Fact is, he is far too sensitive to play football. Just when he was "getting it," midway through the season, some of his teammates started yelling and screaming at him to do a better job, and that was the beginning of the end, for Britt. I learned a big lesson as a parent, last season - whatever you do, DON'T TALK TO THE COACHES, because they will punish your kid for it. I also learned that if you really want your kid to excel and to do well, then BE one of the coaches. Truly! In a perfect world, things would not be this way, but in today's world, they are.

Brady and I had no idea the pressure we were putting Britt under with regard to football until we asked him if he wanted to play again last spring before registration. He said, "Nooooooo?" He didn't want to disappoint us. And we said, "Okay, you don't have to play." And do you know what he did? He started crying tears of relief. He was trying NOT to cry, but he was so relieved, he couldn't help it, and he said "THANK YOU." His reaction broke our hearts and opened our eyes to the pressure aspect. From our perspective, pressure isn't healthy. Plus, due to Britt's lack of "mean," we were afraid he was going to be seriously hurt in a game where you have to possess that killer instinct. Like my dad said after coming to watch him play last fall, "That boy doesn't have a mean bone in his body!"

My heart has been hurting for a friend of mine who has a boy playing football this year, though, because he is like Britt - very kind and sweet and a super good kid. Wouldn't you know he's already had his feelings hurt this year from bullies playing football on his team? He may not be my kid, but I'm quite fond of him and I know what a good  boy he is, and I have to tell you, I feel a boiling wrath towards the boys who are hurting him. I think I feel this anger because I am reminded of how frustrated I was last season watching so many knotheaded, disrespectul, unruly brats run rampant on the practice and playing field. I just cannot tolerate disrepect, and I wish more parents would worry about teaching their kids to be kind and good people than worry about them being the star athletes of the world.

Hey - I'll admit it - Britt's a big boy, and I had dreams of him being a football superstar when he was younger, but I now realize that was my dream, not his, and he's a truly amazing swimmer - swimming is his "thing." I used to think Brailey would be a basketball player when she was younger, too, but I soon changed my mind when I realized how aggressive and hateful the girls playing basketball are, today. Brailey, like Britt, doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Basketball girls were pretty mean when I played, back in the day, but they're way meaner, today. That's why I'm encouraging her to try volleyball, which so far, she loves. I may even have Britt try volleyball out for a season. Who knows? It's such a fun game, and there isn't the same level of danger football holds. We're thinking of trying a dance class, also. Or we may just stay home and do our own thing. Like ride our horses!

Anyway, say a prayer for my friend's boy, if you don't mind - pray that he finds a way to cope with all the football jerks on his team (not all of them are cruel, but the handful that are can ruin it, you know?) and that he will find a place inside himself that shines. Pray for his parents, also, because it hurts them just as much as it hurts him. Pray for the bullies to change their ways, while you're at it, because they're the ones Jesus wants us to pray for, right? And frankly, I see Jesus' point - the nice kids are already winners. The bullies need all the prayers they can get.

1 comment:

  1. what a big decision! i'm so sorry he was feeling so much pressure - but your observations make sense - it is such a physical sport and soooo tough on the body and mind too. i love that you asked him and really listened - what a good mom :)
    hugs, coley

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