Rick and I both feel that activities and sports are great for kids. I think it’s good for their physical, emotional, and social well-being. I think it develops great personality traits like sportsmanship, self confidence, and determination. It’s good for kids to be active and learn to live a healthy, active lifestyle, and they have a blast as well. We never push our kids into activities. I think forcing a child to participate in something they don’t want to do would have negative effects rather than positive ones. But when our children have the desire (and when finances, time, and family needs allow) we always do what we can to help.
Joshua loves football. Last year he played flag football and had a blast, especially with Rick as his coach. But this year when I mentioned signing him up for flag football again, he gasped, “Flag? But I really want to play tackle!”
So I looked into tackle football. I found an awesome league. It’s more money than flag football was and it’s a much bigger time commitment, but I knew Josh would love it. I talked it over with Rick first. Football was his love all during childhood and up through high school. He was excited to have Josh involved in such a great league, and he was all for signing him up.
I got in touch with a coach. Even though the registration deadline had passed, there were a few first grade spots left. The coach was excited when he learned that Joshua is a state champion wrestler because he surmised that Josh was probably athletic and not afraid of physical contact. He was even more excited when I told him that Joshua was homeschooled. Rather than conforming to elementary school boundaries, Joshua could join any team and this particular coach wanted him on his team. I was glad because practices for this team are held just a few minutes from our house.
I talked with Rick one more time, making sure that this was a time, money, and family commitment that we were willing to make. Then we talked with Joshua. He was so excited, just as we knew he would be. We explained that it would be a bigger commitment than last year and that it might overlap a little with wrestling at the end of the season.
Josh had his first football practice last night. Rick met us there after work, but because of our current car seat situation (no car seat in Rick’s car) the other kids and I had to stay the entire practice. Joshua did great and had a blast! He scored high in all he evaluation games they played. His coach is incredibly nice, the team is well run, and Josh just ate up all the football time. He’s the youngest on the team (if his birthday was one month later than it is, he wouldn’t have been able to play until next year) and he is the smallest by far. But he’s athletic, strong, and has no fear and he did great in spite of being young and small.
The evening was nice- sunny, but with a good breeze. The other kids and I stayed under the shade of some large trees nearby and were very comfortable during practice.
After practice we went to pick up Joshua’s pads and gear. The kids and I had to tag along again because of the car seats. We waited in the van for over and hour while Rick got Josh fitted with everything he needed. We played lots of rounds of 20 Questions and I Spy. Finally, after a long evening, we made it home around 10pm. We fed our kids dinner (they had only snacked before and during practice so they needed a real meal still) and then put them to bed. It was a late night for all of us.
Joshua has practice 4 nights a week for 1.5 hours each time. When school starts, it will cut back to 3 nights a week, and as the season progresses and the boys get better, it will be just twice a week. He’ll have 8 games, with the possibility of big championships at the end of the season if his team does well. T-ball, wrestling, and gymnastics are all ending this week so this is the only week that Josh will be busy with 4 activities at once. The folkstyle wrestling season will start in a few months so football season and wrestling will probably overlap in October. Josh is aware that he might have to pick one sport over the other during that time. If scheduling works out, he can do both until football season is over.
Joshua is super excited. He loves all his gear. He had such a great time at practice last night that he can hardly wait to go again. Rick is just as excited as Josh is and I love that the two of them have something else to bond over. Our other kids are excited about playing on the playground during practice (when Rick can’t take Josh, we will) and making new friends there. Personally, I am just excited to see my family happy.
So here’s to what I am sure will be a very busy football season! And between homeschool starting again in September (we are taking August off) and gymnastics and football and choir and dance and wrestling… well, I am sure it will be a very busy fall as well. Oh, and we’re having a new baby this fall too! I just realized that by the time Josh finishes up his football season, I will probably cheer at his last game with a bundled-up newborn in my arms! How exciting!