I have three boys. My oldest, 16, doesn’t play football. My middle son, 15, does. My six year old son is still too young.
I am a football loving freak. My first blog, a very unsuccessful one, was titled, www.thesportgirl.com and was a site devoted to women’s’ love of professional football. I grew up watching the NFL. Every. Single. Sunday. Monday. And? Elatedly on Thursdays when that became an option. My gift after the birth of my first child wasn’t a beautiful necklace inscribed with my new baby’s name or a weekend at the spa as soon as the baby was old enough. Oh no, not me. My gift was two Colts’ season tickets and NO gift could have made me happier.
“What do you want? A girl or a boy?”, I would be asked during three consecutive pregnancies. Always I answered, “A boy.” I had dreams of football. I couldn’t wait to sit in the stands. My boys were going to be football players and I was going to be the proud mother.
My oldest son started playing when he was twelve. I will never forget the first day he put on those pads and started hitting people. I expected to be jumping for joy. Instead I felt a pit in my stomach. As the season progressed I became a little less excited with every game. After the season, my son decided he didn’t want to play anymore and I admit I wasn’t just a little relieved.
A few years passed and my second son asked to play. After two seasons of insisting he stick with soccer while he begged and pleaded for mercy from a sport he despised I conceded the fight. He is now in high school and starting training for his fourth football season. As a freshman he was called up to Varsity for playoffs. As a sophomore, it is likely he will play Varsity.
I am truly petrified to the point of being sick at my stomach for hours leading up to every Friday night. I pray, and I pray a lot, before, during and in gratitude after every game for his safety. I can’t even count the number of times I have held my breath, gasped or screamed because, as a receiver he took a licking. I’ve watched him peel his body off the ground only to go back in and take another hit.
This week I was listening to Dan Patrick interview Kurt Warner. They were discussing the bounty issue with the Saints and the dangers of playing football. Kurt said it scares him to have his sons playing and if it was up to him, he wouldn’t want his kids to play football. To read more of the interview click here.
This got me thinking. It is up to him. And? It is up to me. We ultimately have control over our kids. Why do we let them play if we are scared sick of the game? Is football too dangerous? Should I ban football in my own home? Am I a bad mother to let him play?
We all know the risk of concussions and now we are starting to find out what those concussions mean later in life. We have football players committing suicide by shooting themselves in the chest to preserve their brain so doctors can study it. We have thousands of law suits being filed against the NFL for failure to protect their players. We know that just one concussion can be life changing. So I ask you, my faithful readers, is football too dangerous for our boys? Will you or do you let your boys play? Are you consumed with fear or do you think everyone is overreacting? =
I would love to hear from you below. I think it is a discussion mothers and fathers should be having.