You are probably expecting some tribute to the greatness that was the Texas A&M football team last night. Well, okay, but just a little. I hate me some Steve Spurrier. If the Aggies lose the rest of their games this season, I am okay with it. Defeating Spurrier and his Gamecocks - and setting several records in the process, is enough to last me for quite awhile.
What I really wanted to talk about was a different level of football...
I have been avoiding Crash's football practices. I am not terribly hung up on it, but I am a little bothered, especially considering that every day I see another story about sports-related concussions and the long term effects that are becoming evident. The youth league commissioner and my husband had tried to allay my fears by putting it in simple terms of physics, telling me that the boys, at this age, simply aren't big enough, strong enough, or fast enough to hurt one another when they tackle.
I call bullshit.
I took Crash to practice last night. I had a good, and expected, chuckle over the number of dads on the field, the amount of beer guts straining T-shirts, the reek of testosterone in the air. There were moms, too. The sort that questioned every call during the scrimmage, and encouraged their little darlings to, "Hit him HARD!."
I was not expecting the brutal recoil of little heads, as helmets made contact. I wasn't ready for the clash of shoulder pads. I cringed as those sweet little boys grunted and groaned and got knocked to the ground.
The more brutal the hit, the more excited the dads became. I fantasized about kneeing them in the 'nads when they picked my kid up off the ground by his shoulder pads and smacked his helmet in some brutish display of congratulations.
I love football but I was not at all prepared for the visceral pain I would feel, watching my little guy play the game. Fortunately, I have a plan.
As with most youth sports of today, the season kicked off with a parent's meeting, complete with 15-page manual of expectations and rules of conduct. If I get mouthy at a game, they bench my kid - and I can do 'mouthy' pretty damn well.