Posted by Walter B.
I just read the Chicago Parent's November cover story, "Lessons from the Gridiron." It brought me right back to my 11-year-old son's Pee Wee Football Playoff game over the weekend. I found both articles to be on the money. Even though losing is not much fun, I think that he is more depressed that the season is over. He loves playing football, watching football, talking football and learning as much as he can about football. He loves the contact, to tackle, to catch passes, to force fumbles, to make interceptions, to run new plays, to make good lead blocks and score touchdowns. Next, he will move on to basketball and be just as engaged, while earning higher than respectable grades that reflect his effort and ability.
This season, our son suffered a few dings, stepped on fingers (ouch) and close calls, but played hard, played fair and encouraged his teammates as he played his heart out. His coaches did a good job and treated the boys with respect and the boys did the same. There is a reciprocal relationship between how people are treated and how they treat others in return that holds true even on the Pee Wee gridiron. My wife and I love watching the way our son plays football, win or lose.
His 41-degree rainy day Mud Bowl of a playoff game ended in his near numb hands, mud-soaked uniform and warrior heart wanting to play more and better. I told him to make sure to sit on the big towel on the car seat and that I was proud of him. As we drove off, I offered to take him for lunch. At first he wasn't in the mood, but after he warmed up a bit I heard him say "Could we stop at Culver's and get a double butter burger…..fries…… oh yeah, and a frozen custard. Do you think that they will put some nuts on that for me?"
What lesson from the gridiron did my 11-year-old son teach me? Make sure to bring plenty of money for lunch!