I was a football-mom virgin until last year when my proverbial initiation into the world of youth football took place. My entry into the fast-paced, loud-mouthed, constant worrying on the sidelines that your child will be squished world of being a football mom was easier than I thought. Although, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I wanted to (and perhaps did on occasion) scream, "Get off my baby!" from my spot in the bleachers. But who doesn't do that?
Maybe that's why I was never asked to be the team mom?
Anyway, our first football season came and went without any broken bones or concussions, thank the football gods! My son poured his heart and soul into each game and practice and stood up in his position as a tackle against boys twice his size - and he even pushed a few of them down.
How I got comfortable with cheering for my kid to push another kid down on a field in front of dozens of other parents is beyond me, but it seemed that everyone else was doing it to and you know what they say about Rome...
By the time our second football season rolled around, I was ready. I even remembered some of the key phrases from the year before. I knew what to feed my kid before a big game, what music to play in the car to pump him up, what kind of water bottle was his favorite, to always have ice packs ready, to roll the car windows down on the way home from practice or a game and most importantly, how to clean his jersey and game pants so he'd always look professional. Oh yes, these are important tasks to master when you're the mom of a football player - just ask any of my friends and they will tell you that along with a protein-packed breakfast, Oxy-Clean is your new best friend (as well as her best friend, bleach).
They will also tell you that some football parents are complete nuts, but that is another story.
Our season was a good one. It started in the heat of August and surprisingly, we were still playing games in the late October sun thanks to an unseasonably warm fall. Injuries were kept to a minimum although I was constantly worried about the massive bruises that seemed to color every inch of visible skin on my son's arms and every time he said his head hurt I immediately thought brain injury, but isn't that my job? To freak out over nothing? Yes, I thought so.
He excelled in the positions his coaches had him play. He blocked and tackled and ran his ever-loving football heart out and even though I still don't understand everything there is to understand about the game of football, I know one thing - my son did a great job.
Despite bad calls, grumpy coaches, mouthy players and some debatable behaviors by kids on opposing teams (as well as their equally mouthy parents), my son did a great job. He showed sportsmanship, teamwork and a winning attitude even when they were being crushed. Most of all, he had a good time - which makes what I am doing today (soaking and scrubbing the mud off his practice pants) all worth it.
I am going to miss football season...but I am not going to miss those muddy pants.
Until we battle again next year.