My fourteen year old son plays football. We all face challenges. Mine was in how to talk with my son after the game and prepare him for a rematch. Tell me how to be better next time.
The other team didn’t just play aggressive. Four specific boys on the other team played dirty every opportunity they could. One player on the opposing team did not following illegal things: punched boys on our team in the face after the play is dead, punch our boys in the throat not only when the play was dead but their team was lining up, grab their genitals, spike boys in the back with his helmet, take the back of the helmet of a downed boy and shove it forward over his neck to choke him with the face guard, then follow through with kneeing the boy on the ground.
I’m a Mom. My son loves his sports. When I saw the cheater boy from the opposing team punch my son in the face with his right and grab the face mask with his left I almost went on the field. I held back. I could see our team shrink back. The opposition won in their efforts.
I would like to tell you that all is fair and it ended happily, but this not the moral of my story.
I’m the silly water girl. Another parent video taped one of the opposing coaches take his colored jersey off and come over on our sideline to call out our plays on his cell phone to the other side.
Remember I said they are fourteen years old.
After the game, I help break down the tent and collect whatever trash (these are jobs I love because girls are not normally allowed down so close). I see the cheater boy, whose number I will not spell out. The boy who played dirty all the game, with only a few admonishments from referees. I say nothing to him.
I did congratulate another boy on the opposite team who I said “ you were marvelous tonight, you run like the wind.”
He smiled, “thanks.”
Then I heard one of the coaches on the other team tell the dirty player to take his jersey off and put it in his bag, “so no one will take a picture of your face.”
I almost cried, not because the boy tried to harm my son. What are we teaching our youth?
In the car after all is done, on the way for pizza, my son quietly shares that he was scared by the actions of the other team. I took a breath and didn’t give my buck up speech. I told him I understood. BUT
“I never want you to back down in the first face of bad.” These were kids remember. We have a team all on the line with pads on too.
“You need to execute the play you are ordered like a warrior. You need to tell the guys to the right and left of you that you will all march to this perfectly, but you are going to hit the cheater fair and square harder than you dream you can. If he waivers or gets spins away, they are to hit him fair as well and ground him.”
“And what will that do Mom?”
“And how does that advice help.”
“You will have a plan. You will not be afraid with your team behind you. You will know afterwards win or lose cheaters suck. But the best part is cheaters eventually get the wind knocked out of them fair and square and end up ugly in the eyes of God.”
“Mom do you think God watches football?”
“He’s like us, He sees.”
“And how does that advice help Mom.”
“You will not be afraid. I love you son.”
So my moral of the story is not glamorous. Sometimes the market beats the heck out of you. Sometimes you run across bad guys. It is that you get up tomorrow with some bruises but go back to your old marketing plan and never give up. Pat the guys you work with for something well done and everything is hard, so buck up.