When my son was 3 years old he started playing T-ball. He hated it. He was that kid picking weeds out in the field and talking to the other players during the games. He was bored.
My husband was so excited when our son started T-ball because of his own love and passion for baseball. He imaged going off to baseball games together, playing catch in the yard, and endless conversations about the sport. I know he was bummed when our son rejected baseball, but he was supportive of him trying a different sport.
New season, new sport.
When the T-ball season ended most the other kids signed up for another season of T-ball, but not my little guy. I was okay with it because he said he wanted to play soccer. Soccer season started out great. He was listening to the coach and he was focused. I was ready to go get a mini-van and put a soccer ball graphic on it. Okay, not really, but I was proudly posting #soccermom on Facebook. As the season continued something happened, and his interest in the sport suddenly changed. He was not that into it.
His true interest was becoming evident.
On our way to a game one weekend he looked over at the football field and said, “That is what I want to do.” Yes, you can only imagine what I was thinking: “Over my dead body; there is no way my 4-year-old is playing football.” He begged and begged to play. He said he would finish the season but did not want to play soccer anymore.
My husband and I love sports and were so excited to watch our son learn and play these different sports. We are his biggest cheerleaders. We started to think about the idea of football, and we realized football has been a big part of his life since he was 1. His grandfather would take him to the NFL summer football camps from the moment the boy was able to walk. They would eat chips and watch the games on Sunday nights. He had a favorite player and was collecting NFL helmets and teeny mates. NFL jerseys, hats and socks were on his wish list. He loved football and was ready to play.
New season. Again.
That soccer season ended and so did my time as a #soccermom. I caved and signed him up for football. I was nervous, worried, and not sure if he would really like playing this sport; we had already struck out twice (pun intended!). I wondered what we would do next if he didn’t like it. When football season started my little man surprised me. It wasn’t long before I realized I had made the right decision to let him follow his heart because he really loved the game.
As the season continued, I noticed that he was not saying he was bored or that he wanted to play something else. Instead, he was focused, intrigued and ready to learn. In fact, he started to watch all the games with his father and grandpa. They had a special bond about football. He would wake up in the morning and ask who won and then ask if he could watch the highlights of the game on ESPN. He had begun to practice throwing, catching, and pulling flags with his dad and grandpa any minute he could. I am not lying when I say he fell asleep with a football in his hand.
I was no longer a soccer mom, but instead I was a proud #footballmom.
Five seasons later, he is still my flag pulling machine in flag football. He was determined to be on the defense pulling flags and that is exactly what he is doing. He loves it so much they have nicknamed him “JJ Watts” and he loves that.
As a parent, I think it is important to let him make some decisions on his own. Yes I get that he is only 5, but he is growing up so fast. When I was a kid, I was allowed to be in the sport I enjoyed the most and I want him to have that opportunity too. I am proud of him for trying T-Ball and soccer, but it was obvious from a very young age that his heart is set on football.
I just want him to be happy…. So you can just call me Football Mom from now on!