It is a fine line that we walk as parents when we sign our children up for organized sports — especially those full-contact sports of football, hockey, lacrosse, etc. We weigh a list of benefits against one major con and hope for the best at the start of each season.
For the benefits: The kids get the physical activity that their little bodies need and as a result get healthier kids. We get children who learn how to work together as a team and who get to develop skills as leaders. As parents, we get a network of like-minded parents and a social network on which to garner support on a whole range of parenting issues.
For the cons: Our kids run the risk of being hurt. Most of the time these injuries are minor and only require some TLC. On those rare occasions that a child gets really hurt, everyone mom slowly holds their breath and secretly hopes that it is not her child laying on the field of play.
It was earlier this year that I experienced the later type of injury. It was my child, the little baby that I held in my arms ten years ago, that was laying on the football field unconscious. When it is your child you go to someplace inside yourself, the supermom place, where you hold it together while the paramedics do their work. You hold their hand in the emergency room and you tuck them into their hospital bed at night. As they sleep, the football mom will watch their little chest rise and fall just like they did when they were that little baby in the crib. In the dead of night, you’ll cry those tears that you don’t want your child to see you shedding. Once they’ve been cleared by the doctors, you’ll do the unthinkable and drive them back to practice with a smile on your face and a prayer in your heart.
It is in those moments when the team cheers them on as they run back onto the field that makes it all worthwhile. These children are part of the extended family. We cheer their victories and wipe away their tears because that’s what makes them a team and that’s what makes all of the worries worthwhile.