Family, Journal

Dear Son, You Don’t Have to Play Football

Dear Son,

You’re only two years old, yet you live and breathe the “ball game.”  You sleep with your football and your helmet. Your favorite blanket is covered with footballs. You get excited every time we pass any kind of field, think we are missing a game if you see lights, and beg to watch football highlights on YouTube. You ask to wear a football shirt every day. You love to steal your sister’s megaphone and cheer, “Go bulldogs, go bobcats, go bullcats, go ball game!” My favorite cheer of yours is, “Go Daddy!”.

I love watching your joy, excitement, and pure innocence. It makes hauling all the things back and forth and chasing you at the field worth it. I love watching you watch the big boys run onto the field. I love watching you throw the ball to yourself on the sideline. I love watching you watch your dad.

But there’s something that I want you to know. If the “ball game” ever doesn’t bring you that joy and excitement, it’s ok.

As you grow up, you may not be so obsessed with football. You may not want to spend your Friday nights on the sideline. You may not want to watch the game on Sunday with your dad. And you may not want to play.

I need you to know something: it’s ok if you don’t want to be a football player.  

It’s ok if you don’t want to watch film.

It’s ok if you don’t want to spend your summers at workouts.

It’s ok if you don’t want to throw a touchdown pass.

It’s ok if you never kick a field goal.

It’s ok if you never make a tackle.

It’s ok if you never step foot in the end zone.

It’s ok if you want to focus on school.

It’s ok if you want a job.

It’s ok if you want to be in the band.

It’s ok if you want to be a cheerleader.

It’s ok if you play another sport.

It’s ok if you don’t want to do anything at all.

It’s ok if you don’t want to play football. My anxiety will probably thank you for it. And if you do want to play? Momma will be there for every game. I’ll wear your number. I’ll buy a cowbell and cheer obnoxiously. I’ll put a sticker on my car. My wardrobe will be team colors. I’ll cook for team suppers and hide treats in your locker.

Your dad and I will be your biggest cheerleaders no matter what you do and no matter where life takes you. We love you more than you will ever know, and nothing will ever change that.

Life is bigger than a game and all we want is for you to grow up ready to tackle the world. We want to know that we raised a man who is ready to begin a career, is driven, has goals, and will be able to take care of his family one day. We want to raise a man who has a good heart and is a friend to all. We want to raise a man who has the kind of relationship with God that will drive all of his other relationships and guide all of his decisions. The football field is a great place to learn these life lessons, but you can also learn about life on the baseball field, on the basketball court, in the gym, in school, at home, and at church.

So son, it’s ok if you want to play football, but if you don’t, that is more than ok too.