Sunday, September 12, 2010


I attended another football game this weekend for my youngest.

I have found it peculiar over the past five year how few sports my kids have participated in. Up to and including while Chris was sick, we had the kids playing little league and whatever other sports were available to their age group. I was athletic growing up, as was my husband... so to have the kids involved in sports seemed like the natural thing.

Once Chris passed, the kids had no more interest in playing little league. When their grades started basketball teams, they didn't want to play. I didn't push any of this too much, because the reality of it is, as a single working parent - the challenge of getting them everywhere they need to be is huge.

I discovered swimming a few years ago, and I did push for the kids to get involved. The team ran from September to March and was a great way to exercise all winter. PLUS, they practiced every night, but the practices were not mandatory. A perfect combination for someone like me! I could get them there on the nights that is was possible. But, that only last about a season and the kids had enough and didn't want to do it any longer.

I found it peculiar though that the kids consistently showed no desire to get involved with school sports. So, when my youngest told me this summer that he intended to play football in the fall, I was surprised, but happy.

He was the new kid on the block, with most the other kids at least in their second year of play - some in their fourth. Enter, my son. Not only has he never played before, his exposure to watching games has been very limited (let's face it - not my favorite way to spend a Saturday). I don't believe he even knew the position names or anything. He was green.

I was not surprised when their first game came and he was put in (almost as a courtesy) at the end of the game.

I was not surprised when he came home from practice this week and told me how he was running drills against the best kid on the team (I am sure they rotate who you go up against).

He is a humble little kid. Doesn't make a big deal out of anything he does.

Friday night, I arrive home from work and start to prep some dinner. He needed to be at the field by 6pm, which is the start of the "JV" game. With my limited time, I was (no surprise) running a little late. As I drove him to the game... he sighed in frustration, "why do we always have to be late... I am starting defense tonight, I need to be on time".

"You are starting tonight?"


He just said it so casually. I vowed to be on-time for his game.

I was... and he started on defense, just like he said. The game began with the kid, known as the best kid on the team, scoring a touchdown in the first play. The entire rest of the first quarter was spent with us on defense... and my baby playing. He continued to hit the field on defense the rest of the first half and into the second, except during substitutions to the line.

I was so happy for him. So happy to see his hard work paying off for him. So happy that he was self-driven to be involved and to work hard. He only complained about practice when he felt they didn't work hard enough. He endured the heat and the bruises with never a comment. As I stood on the sidelines contemplating the man this boy was beginning to grow up to be, I was proud of him. And I knew his dad was there that night standing by him when they went back to offense and he was back on the line. I could almost envision his father's hand on his shoulder, telling him he was proud of him.