One moment he's this sweet little boy that you spend your days keeping out of harm's way,
and the next, he's taller than both of you,
getting tackled by boys that are double his size and have full beards.
My oldest, Peter, is entering high school this year, and to him a football field is his field of dreams. He loves baseball (a nice non-contact sport), but he lives and breathes football every month of the year. He's played ever since he was eligible in second grade, and when he's not playing he's watching ESPN, or YouTube videos of amazing football moments, or relaying stats to me while I cook dinner, about some college football player who he envisions to be the first draft pick this year. He reads books on sports heroes and writes papers on his favorite football player of all time, Walter Payton. He waited impatiently for this season to start and on day one of captain's practices he was the first to arrive at the field, an hour before schedule, fired up, ready to go.
Despite the fact that he has grown into a strapping young lad, I'm still his mama. I want to keep him little, safe and sound, encase him in bubble-wrap, but alas, I've got to let him, along with his brother and sister, go out into the world and have experiences. Although I often find myself holding my breath when I watch him play - please, please keep him safe - there is nothing quite like that elation I see in him after a great game, and I know he is having the time of his life out there.
As the years have gone on my little guy has joined the football ranks too.
The NFL has also advocated for the passage of youth concussion laws in every state, so, for example, a player does not continue to play in a game after showing signs of a concussion. In addition, the NFL has committed over $60 million to medical research on new ways to protect the brain and address head injuries. To learn more about Heads Up Football, check out this site: www.nflevolution.com.
Wishing you and your kids a safe and fun season ahead!