Our Family’s Journey in Football
Sprinting through the days of raising our six children, we often see so much as a blur when looking back at our memories. Running like a river, the seasons of life change every day; slow moving at times but often rushing and swiftly passing us by as more and more activities join the mix.
The years we have spent supporting our children in their various endeavors, especially flag and tackle football, have been fantastic but often full of a flood of activity. It’s hard to remember it all, but thankfully, we have had beautiful periods of flowing time that has allowed us to relax and enjoy.
The community that football has given our family has been second to none. What began in elementary school as spending many warm fall Saturdays at flag football games continued with our second, third, and fourth children and will likely be joined in the upcoming years by our fifth and sixth children.
Our flag football days are often a hilarious mixture of young boys and girls who are just learning the game of football to the upper elementary and middle school students to show off their well-honed skills while embracing those who may be new to the game.
We have now graduated to include weeknight varsity tackle games full of spirit and sweat; our family would not have it any other way.
Discovering the right activity for your children, no matter what it is, is a balance for parents and sometimes feels like a real lesson in futility. Because of many prior such futile experiences, I am immensely grateful that our children have found football to be something they not only enjoy but also have a genuine desire to play.
It’s also more than just being fortunate enough to have children able to participate in leagues that have emphasized sportsmanship and team-building, which have set the stage for the success we have experienced.
As parents, we have also found a great community to guide, support, and cheer us on.
When our kids were in the beginning stages of playing football, we always hoped for broad learning of the game that started over 150 years ago and embraced the improvements and changes made throughout the subsequent years. We watch our youngest players, the teams of boys and girls, working together to be the fastest to get the flags, catch the pass, and score the touchdown. Looking closely, we see the bonds of friendships coming together and occasionally witness our kids blossom. And maybe, just maybe, if we are lucky enough, that sparks something that may bring them years, or perhaps a lifetime, of enjoyment.
And now, we are moving towards the likely winding down of the journey for our oldest son, who currently plays on his high school team, which is achingly bittersweet. He is blessed to experience the leadership of his high school head coach. Finding a team, or club, whose own leaders act out the values they strive to instill in your children is a fantastic experience and such an essential part of the growth and success mindset we want our children to master.
According to our son’s high school coach, taking part in the development and growth of children that aren’t your own is rewarding beyond measure.
With great coaches who think along those lines, we see a greater love for such a family-centered sport from everyone involved. When you are a part of that type of community and this family-centric sport, you see the beauty of the whole team as a family with the branches of varsity and junior varsity, offensive, and defensive lines, with a sprinkling of special teams throughout the mix, all working to support one another.
By truly embracing the mantra of “Love, Respect, Discipline, Hard Work,” set forth by the adults guiding the players through their high school years, these coaches are working every day to pass those values on to their team, and we cannot help to be cheering and hoping for their success constantly.
Finding the joy in football while understanding the accountability and demands it requires has brought our family closer to the community in which we live.
We choose to volunteer and spend time ensuring that the bonds it’s built stay strong. We sacrifice time and energy to support the love our kids have for football and do so without regret or second guessing.
Through summer conditioning, months of practices, and seasons of games, you’ll find us cheering away and embracing the family memories we have created.
Future For Football is an initiative by the National Football Foundation to promote and celebrate the game at all levels. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also visit their site for other helpful resources and to find a league near you.