progression: from tolerate to love to hate – the story of football

I didn't really grow up in a football centric home. Well, I might have. I remember my Dad watching football some Sundays, but I'm not sure if it was just his excuse to take a nap in his favorite recliner before the Monday work week hell started back up. I never got into watching sports after I moved out, didn't even really watch TV for that matter. Where I live is a college basketball crazy town. Although there have been years where I have watched every game that I possible could, today, I can say that I haven't watched a game in a few years. And I still don't watch TV. But this post is not about me. I used to tolerate a football game on the TV at the bar or visiting a friend. My son. All 117 pounds of pure joy in my life decided to play football this year. He found a decent league to play with and started practice. His first game was, to me, hilarious. A bunch of 8-9 year old boys running around the field tackling the other team. I honestly do not believe any of them knew where the ball was at any given time. But they got to be tough and rough and tackle other kids. The first game did not go very well, they lost by a land slide even though they did not officially keep score. All is good. I'm starting to love football. The league is small, so the games were anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours away. Small price to pay for his enjoyment. Then it happened. The second game was cancelled? Come to find out, his team was suspended from the league because they didn't have enough players and were not bringing enough money into the league. I'll explain. All parents, friends, family that came to watch the game had to pay the $5 admission fee to be a spectator. Because his team only had 11 players, well you can do the math. So, after his Mom put up with a lot of stuff (I've only heard parts of what she had to go through) to get him into another league, he went back to practicing. I still am now loving football. Mother Nature decided to step in and it rained for a good week and a half. Game cancellation. Then doubling up with a game on Saturday and a game on Sunday. This coupled with between 3 and 4 days of practice per week, rain or shine, it was a lot of work. Once the rain decided to dissipate, he played exactly 4 plays in the next game. Three plays in the next game. No plays in the next game. He practiced his ass off during the week, finishing covered in boy sweat (yuck) and tired. I now hate football. This is my opinion, maybe not yours, and I will take no offense if you disagree with me nor will I be defensive if you disagree (see, I do know offense and defense). This is supposed to be a rec league where you DO have to pay to play. It's not horribly expensive, but it is money. I completely understand when you get to middle school or high school that you will go through tryouts and may not make the team. What I question is that this is supposed to be something the kids do because they want to and the parents decide to pay their dues, both in time and money. And when the child does not get to play and gets upset and although they practice their little butts off, they aren't really playing what they signed up for. So, in the end, although the season runs through the end of the month, he has decided that he no longer wants to play for this team. He does not feel like a quitter. He does feel like an outcast on the team. I believe that this is due to him joining the team 2 weeks after the season kicked off and the previous league being under different rules than the current. I also believe that his coach expects him to completely understand the game in his first season because most of the boys on his team have been playing for at least one season. His size, he's a big boy, not fat, just big for his age, put him in a 10U team when he is 8. To all the coaches out there, it's not for your benefit, it's for the kids. They are doing this because they want to. If your rec league team absolutely has to win or you feel like a failure then you really should not be coaching (and may want to re-evaluate your mental state). Take this advice and realize the kids will do their best, but only based on the direction and coaching you give them. And most importantly, this is not about the money, it is about my child wanting to play with a team - a wonderful life lesson for him to learn in the early years, which is what I thought was part of playing sports, apparently not. It is also not about me being a jealous or irritated parent because my son doesn't get to play. It is, however, about your lack of skills in coaching to teach the kids (it is also not just my child that is sitting out, the last game, 3 kids sat out the entire game) My final words to the coaches (trying to refrain from the "F**K YOU"): This is life folks, we all lose from time to time, but if we are not in the game, we can never win. I'm off my soap box, for now. Basketball starts in a few months. I kind of feel like "one of those parents" right now!  

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