Tuesday, August 6, 2013
What Football is Teaching George
Before all the soccer lovers out there bash me for saying soccer is not a team sport - please just save your time and energy. I have never enjoyed soccer and had my kids play soccer because that is what good moms do for their kids. I watched Eleanor, Harry, George and Lincoln as they ran up and down a field - touching the ball with their feet maybe a dozen times - and have never become a fan of the sport. I can appreciate it - but am not a fan. Don't hate me.
What I LOVE is football! I grew up with football all around me - dad coaching, brothers playing..and yes...I was even a pee-wee cheerleader! I know - almost impossible to imagine! That was before I picked up ball and realized how great it is to play and not just cheer. OK - don't hate me for that comment either.
(Disclaimer - I DO receive "hate" comments - and it usually has to do with "adopting dogs", but I am afraid my dislike of soccer and cheer leading might bring a whole new set of haters.)
Back to the point of this blog post!
George is experiencing a TEAM for the first time...and it is so, so good for him. Like I said, I grew up around the game and often pride myself for being a pretty awesome color commentator for the NFL. It is uncanny how I will say something to Joe after a play and within seconds, the color commentator is saying the exact same thing. Hmmm - maybe a 3rd career change for me is in the future?
Anyway - man, I am distracted this morning! George has definitely fallen into the whole USC/Clemson rivalry thing going on in Greenville. If someone is a USC fan, he will shout, "Go Gamecocks!" But...10 minutes later, if he sees a Clemson fan he will say, "I love Clemson!" I think he just loves seeing everyone in their purple and orange (barf!) or their dark red (not sure what their official colors are). All I know is I bleed scarlet and gray - so he comes by it naturally. Because of the love of college football here, he has started watching a lot more football with us and has asked for a football for Christmas. You can now often find him in the backyard punting his football - or running slot patterns as Joe throws him a pass.
We took a big leap and signed him up for rec football. Full pads and helmets, 100% tackle football. And man...it is INTENSE! I have been an athlete all my life - and I had no idea how INTENSE football was. I guess when I was around it as a child, I didn't realize what was really going on on the field. I knew my brothers were both pretty talented at the sport and that my dad knew everything about every position and play, but I didn't realize how hard they worked.
I was not sure how George would react to this intensity - or to coaches yelling in his face to hustle - or to being hit and laid flat on his back. So, I hit my knees. I know God doesn't really care about football or outcomes to particular games - but I know he cares about George. And so God blessed George!
George has the most amazing coach - and this coach encourages his players, he teaches them, he slaps them on the back - and yes - he expects a lot out of them. Finally, someone has been brought into George's life who is going to expect him to behave - expect him to give 100% - expect him to think of others - and reinforce the things we are teaching him at home. And at the end of every practice, they gather in a circle, on one knee and pray to God.
I love the south.
George may not be the biggest or the strongest and he certainly is years behind his team mates who have been playing for up to 4 years of this full padded tackle football - but he is pretty quick and he has good hands and we have some hope. Three times a week, George is out there with a group of boys who do everything as a team...and three times a week he is being lifted up by a team mate or patted on the back by the guy who just cleaned his clock or high-fived by a coach after making a good catch. And each practice finds him tired...and sore...and really, really happy.
Should be a fun fall. I have been praying for health and physical safety as he runs around with much bigger boys all around him. But I am also praying for the life lessons that George will learn from playing football.
Posted by Traci Weldie at 4:40 AM