I'm feeling rather melancholy this evening, so please bear with me. I took my grandson to football practice, and made a comment on my facebook about it. A good friend commented, "football has come full circle for you." Yes, it certainly has come full circle.
My son started playing football in the 2nd grade. Last fall was his last season because he graduated from high school this year, and chose not to play in college. Tonight I kept thinking about the first time Jordan stepped onto a football field. I remembered Friday nights in the football stands, and Saturday mornings in the concession stands. For 11 years Jordan poured his heart into football, and it was a huge part of all of our lives. I'm not sure why he no longer has the desire to play. He said it's because it becomes a full-time job at the college level, and I have to believe what he says.
I remember his last game, and the seniors were recognized before the start of the game. I thought to myself, "What will I do during football season next year?" I don't have to worry. My grandson started this year. What a difference watching a 6 year old play for the first time, compared to my 18 year play for the last time.
It's different now. I loved watching my boy play ball. I loved watching him do something he enjoyed. I loved watching the relationships that developed because of this sport. I enjoyed watching Elijah tonight, but it's not the same.
I am forever grateful to his coaches for the endless hours they spent with Jordan. During his football career Jordan played every position except quarterback, safety, and corner. During high school, he played center. He was a team captain senior year, was awarded the Sportsmanship Award his junior year, and Coaches Award his senior year. (Sorry. Proud Mama speaking.)
After watching my son play for so many years, it is my opinion that football teaches teamwork more than any other sport, and for him it was all about the team. If a team-mate needed a ride, an ear to listen, or a couple of dollars, Jordan was there. He stayed after practice to clean the weight room, and never missed a weight-lifting session. My dad passed away when Jordan was in the 9th grade, and Jordan showed up the next morning for his game. Yes, it was all about the team. He wouldn't let them down.
Football taught Jordan some important lessons, the first being never give up. Play until the final buzzer. There is no such thing as a quitter. The second thing is to defend your own. His final 4 years were spent on the offensive line as center, and his job was to protect the quarterback. Defend your brother. Don't let the opponent get to him. Third, hard work will payoff. He never missed a weight-lifting session, nor a practice. He gave 110% when he walked onto that field. He gained the respect and recognition of his coaches, and team-mates. Lastly, football gave Jordan the brothers he always wanted. There was a camaraderie that I, as a single mom, could not give him.
I'm going to miss watching my boy play the sport he loved to play. My prayer is football will mean as much to his nephew as it did to him.
So, this fall if you need a friend to go to a football game with you, give me a shout. I'd love to go.
Make it an awesome day.