Yesterday, Little Dude (in 3rd grade) played in his first flag football game of the season. He played quarterback for part of the game and he threw like a champ. When he played on the defense, he went after the other team’s flags like they were running away with his Xbox and he repeatedly dived and went airborne, trying to rip their flags off like a lion going after his prey.
Ever since he was a toddler, Little Dude loved to throw himself on the ground. When he plays baseball, his favorite move is to slide into the bases, even if he’s nowhere close to getting tagged out. The kid loves physical contact – both on the field, as well as off. He gives great, long bear hugs which makes it almost hard to believe that he can be such a tough guy in competition.
He’s even built like he was made for football. He’s strong and solid and can throw that ball really far. He’s only played one game this season and yet I’m already worrying about next year.
Why, you ask? Because next year he’s eligible to play tackle football. And therefore, that’s when he’s eligible to receive broken bones and concussions. And, that’s when my stomach will do a triple flip every time he’s thrown to the ground. I’m seriously not sure I have the strength to sit on the sidelines and watch my kid willingly get pummeled.
I was spared with my older two boys, who chose somewhat safer sports like golf, baseball and basketball. Granted, I know they are vulnerable to injuries too, and I’ve watched them get hit by balls and take bad falls on the basketball court. But, watching tackle football may just put me over the edge.
I know I can’t keep him from doing the sports he loves. I know he’ll most likely choose to continue to play football. I know he’ll also most likely love it. And, I’ll be there in those bleachers cheering him on, too. I may not be watching the whole game, but you’ll be able to spot me: I’ll be the one hiding my head in my hands.