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Helmet Kisses: A Dear Football Mom column by Candy A. Westbrook

Dear Football Mom,

It’s our son’s senior year. He was arrested after his game Friday night. He was caught with a few of his buddies in possession of pot. They were celebrating. Their team is going to the championship play-off. Will this hurt his chances for a scholarship to play in college? He hasn’t been offered yet, but we are scheduled to go on some trips in January. It was only pot, and we are trying to get it off his record.

This is one of those gooey questions because, sure enough, I’ll come out stickier than flypaper no matter how I answer it. Your statement, “it was only pot” tells me all I need to know about your approach on the subject. Ouch. Laying it on the line, here goes. It’s so important, imperative even, for parents to hold kids accountable. Please hear me. Please hear my heart, and don’t take this the wrong way. Your son isn’t ready for college life.   

This is what I’ve experienced. Kids learn what they live. When parents ignore or try to cover up their child’s mistakes, in the end it makes matters worse, and even death can be possible. The inconvenient truth is teenagers die from being stoned, intoxicated, or in the most positive light, struggle in life due to drugs and alcohol issues. If he was brazen enough to participate in the pot activity now, living under your roof, what do you think he’ll do in college?

Provided you don’t live in Colorado, (which brings a whole new meaning to Mile High Stadium) smoking pot is illegal, but that’s not really the issue. Even if it wasn’t illegal, it alters the state of consciousness. Anything that does that is, in my opinion, just wrong. The last thing coaches need on campus is a player who has already been busted for substance abuse in high school. 

Yes. The answer is yes, this most surely could affect his chances for scholarship offers. I suggest you sit down and work out a plan B, just in case. But most importantly, hold your son accountable for his actions. If he doesn’t learn now what a greasy gear he’s grinding — and how it could affect his future — when will that lesson be absorbed? Trust me, sooner or later it will be revealed. A parent’s job is never easy, but isn’t his life worth the inconvenience to nip this in the bud now before it leads to irreversible damage or possible death? 

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Dear Football Mom,

Our son’s coach is so unpredictable. We aren’t impressed with him at all, and he plays favorites. Our son has been asked to play for another high school team in our county for next year. Should we pull him out and let him play for this school even though we don’t live in that district? We would have to fudge our address and information to register him there.

So, you mean cheat. I understand, really I do. But fudging may not be the way to go unless the school he attends is in serious peril. And by that I mean ruins. You will be teaching deception to your son by using this game plan. It’s just not a good idea unless you get permission from the school board in your county or some other form of full disclosure. Besides, unpredictability on the football field — in the heat of the battle in a game — is not such a bad thing for coaches to possess. Who wants a coach who can’t throw in a surprise play when flames need dousing?