My Kid is a BAD Sport

    The fourth grade Cobra team lost their fourth game I a row. 14 to 9.  It’s a great team but desperately needs some new offensive moves.

    During the game my son, Sandor , had some monstrous tackles, brutal, effective but clean. The game announcer even said his name four times. Sure, they butchered the pronunciation of his first name but they got Hampo right. Still the Cobras lost. 

    As Sandor walked off the field he pulled off his helmet then threw it on the ground. I was stunned. What the hell was that from a 72 pound linebacker? I caught his eye and nodded toward the helmet. He was wise enough to turn around and pick it up before stalking down the field.

    As he walked, coaches pounded him on the back and said things like, “great second half Sandor” and “good game man, you were in there.”

    Sandor, who has really good manners, ignored them. I caught up with my boy in the in zone and turned him around by the shoulder pads. “Hey, what’s the matter, you had an awesome game.”

    His eyes were red and tears rolled down his sweaty, dirty face. “We lost again, we lose all the time. We’re a bunch of losers.” He was almost yelling.

“And the other team was really mean, they were saying bad stuff about us and they laughed every time one of our guys got hurt. I just want to grab them by the facemask and punch them in the face. They are a bunch of retards.”

I was horrified.  My kid was melting down and acting like a total jerk. Kids who pull this kind of stuff make me crazy. And I think really bad things about their parents because I figure the punk attitude comes from them. I’ve always been so proud of my kids because they were good sports and kept things in perspective.  “Stop, right now, don’t say another  word. You’re about to get in huge trouble. Listen,  Buddy, you can’t turn on your own team. Those are your guys, those are your brothers, win or lose. You’re gonna be playing ball with them for the next eight years. And guys talk trash in football. You just have to ignore them. “

“But we always lose and it sucks”.

“You know what?  You might as well quit the team right now. You have to play football because you love the game and you love your team. If it’s all about winning we should go tell the coach you want to quit. Is that what you want?”

He shook his head and sniveled. “No, I love football.”

“You’re a black belt. You’re the kid who should be telling your buddies to hang in there, not feeling sorry for yourself.”

He nodded as though he understood then climbed into the back seat of the car. Did he hear or understand anything I said? I won’t know until next Saturday morning, after the pee-wee game.  One thing I do know, if we don’t come up with something new for the offense, Sandor’s attitude, sportsmanship  and heart will once again be put to the test.

Am I Going To Let Him Play Football? Hell……

I hear parents asking each other, “Are you going to let him play football”?  They actually whisper the question because they don’t want people to think their kid is a wus. And then they usually say something like, “I just don’t want him to wreck his knees and be crippled for life.”

Ok, that’s a valid point but football is America’s sport, it’s our game, it’s our passion. And if you don’t let your kid play when he’s young he’ll never make the team or get off the bench in Jr. High.  Trust me, he’ll be the kid that runs the wrong way when they finally give him the ball, doesn’t understand a two point conversion and can’t keep score.

Sure, football can be dangerous, but it’s nothing compared to Spain’s national sport…Bullfighting. Let your kid stand in front of a 2,000 pound bull in nothing but a silky cape, suddenly that linebacker doesn’t seem so bad.

According to the Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, cheer-leading is the most dangerous sport in America. Drop you daughter off of a second floor balcony and hope three sophmors actually catch her.  Now that’s dangerous.

The national sport of Afghanistan is called Buzkashi and is kind of like polo, everyone is on horseback, but they use a  dead goat with no head or legs instead of  a ball. I don’t know how dangerous that is but it sounds really gross.

Would you deny your child the chance to be a Sumo Wrestler? That’s pretty dangerous but it brings honor to your family. Cliff diving in Mexico looks pretty deadly too.

My point is, when you’re thinking about football or any team sport, safety shouldn’t be you’re only consideration. When a kid is part of a team, they learn the importance of protecting team members, on and off the field. They figure out it’s not all about “them” and that one person generally can’t win a game. It takes everyone working together. When they play team sports they learn to respect or at least pay attention to coaches, even if they seem mean. And that’s an incredibly valuable lesson because someday your child will have a boss and chances are, they will be mean to them, at some point during their career. Kids have to learn to deal with that.

So, am I going to let Sandor play football?  Hell yes! He’s American and I want him to know what it feels like to stand on the sidelines while the National Anthem is sung, I want him to feel the joy of winning with his team, and the heartbreak of loosing then having to take a long bus ride home.

If Sandor wants to play football, then he’ll play football and I’ll be the crazy woman screaming in the stands, thankful the quarterback is passing a  football instead of a dead goat.