A mom’s take on football’s teaching moments

When my feather-weighted son signed up for tackle football in the fourth grade, I heard myself utter a muted mixture of “oh yeah!” and “oh, dear lord.”

Feature Article: Lessons from the gridiron

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It doesn’t matter whether your youngsters are in sports, drama club, debate team or math bowl. Parents and coaches call the signals that shape the life lessons kids take away from the activities. Read more>>

Since then we’ve been to countless games, bought gallons of Gatorade and, in the three years he’s been playing, we’ve all learned more than just how to take a hit and clean a crusty mouth guard. Here are a few of the pearls of wisdom hidden just under the grass:

  • Sometimes you simply have to do it scared. Whether it’s walking into your room at night by yourself, starting a new job, breaking up with your legally blind hair colorist or staring down a kid three times your size, sometimes you have to do it scared. If you only do things when you feel all cozy about them, you’ll never take the risks that could lead to better things. Or, at the very least better roots.
  • There is a crazy parent who lives dormant in all of us. You may think you’ll be Martha Stewart of your kids’ organized sports. Don’t kid yourself. Something happens when you breathe in that sideline air. Your hands start to sweat, you begin babbling, you get a little paranoid and there might even be an obnoxious outburst. Truthfully, there is something really awesome about being able to holler “hit someone!!!” from your spot in the stands. But remember, in the game of football as in life, you often reap what you sow.
  • Always, always choose your words wisely. This one’s self-explanatory. It is a rule to live by. For example: the words cute, little and athletic cup should never be used together in a sentence. At least not when describing your sixth-grader-or your husband, for that matter.
  • Without a few good blockers, it’s hard to make the really big plays. There are folks in life who always want to call the plays and take the lead. The thing is, most times if you look to the left and right of those hot shots, you’ll find a pretty mighty offensive line without whom they’d have been flattened long ago.
  • When you reach the end zone and score, it’s important to look like you’ve been there before. Or as I tell my husband after he unloads the dishwasher and boasts about his domestic skills, “act like you’ve done this before.” Save the gloating and fancy dances for the really big accomplishments in life-like childbirth.
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