Since our eldest boy was conceived, 16.5 years ago, my husband has been dreaming of the day when he could watch his child play football. The love of the game is rooted deep within their DNA, and by the time they are of school age they can talk the game with the best of them.
But our eldest child is not the football playing kind. He could strategize with the winningest coach, read books about the game, watch with his dad, but running full force into other human beings is really not his thing.
Thankfully for their father, that is exactly Superboy's thing.
Superboy is playing his first year of club football, he is thirteen. His Dad informs me that they can play at 7! I think he is trying to talk me into letting my teeny Monkey boy play next year. I don't think so!
Superboy and football go together like peanut butter and jelly and he is totally blossoming in that environment. It is something just for him, away from the rest of our huge family and The Boy's shadow. He is part of a team, they need him and he needs them. My very social child thrives on that stuff.
As a first-timer, he started the year as a second-string running back, and he was perfectly happy there. For Mom and Dad watching, the first game or two were frustrating because he didn't get to play much in the first half, but it always seemed that he would get a fair amount of play in the second. And every time he took the field, he did amazingly well. He has played consistently, being where he needed to be, blocking and running as needed. Taking a ton of hits and ending up in the bottom of not a few dog-piles, while his momma bit her lip and prayed.
Injuries began to stack up and our boy was called on more and more. And he stepped up to the plate. We were so proud watching him run for first downs and taking hits to protect his quarterback. He wasn't the fastest or the biggest kid on the team, but he got the job done.
So last week, we travelled to a neighbouring town to watch our boy play. We get settled in and look for his jersey number on the field. And nothing. The whole first quarter went by without our son taking the field once. Now this mama bear is getting riled up. Do they not see what value my son brings to the team?! He gains yardage every time they pass him the ball! How can they afford not to put him on the field?! (our team had been blown out every game so far! Our offense had a hard time getting anything going throwing-wise and the defenders were always in our back field!)
Anyhoo, I was soon placated as my son joined his team for the rest of the game, and played really well. He had numerous first downs and his team managed a few touchdowns in an otherwise horrific game. After the game, his coach had nothing but praise for our boy. He told us what a team player Superboy is, how he gave up his shoulderpads at the beginning of the game for the quarterback who had forgot his at home. That is why our boy was not playing, he was waiting for the other boy's mom to return with his pads. The coach also spoke about Superboy's consistent play and how they know they can rely on him.
This was further confirmed after his first practice last week. The coach announced that Superboy was moving to starting running back, the running back was moving to full and the full back was moving to another position. My boy was grinning ear to ear and brimming with joy and confidence. My mama heart was full. Not only had my boy proven to be a great contributor to the team, his coaches had recognized and rewarded him for that effort. Something that does not always happen. Especially if you are not the most gifted athlete on the team. But they see in my son a little of what I see, the spirit and passion, the hard work and effort, the encouragement and team spirit.
I couldn't be more proud or more pleased.
And! Superboy's team got their very first win this past Saturday! They beat the other team 28-6 and that was Superboy's first game as a starter. So exciting!