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Dear Football Mom: Why does my son want to stay home for Christmas?
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Dear Football Mom,

Why is my son so bent on working out during Christmas break instead of going to Colorado with his family skiing? Granted, he’ll be a senior next year and is working hard for a college football scholarship, but enough already. 

He wants to stay with his buddy’s family, as his friend’s dad owns several fitness centers, and they can work out together over the break. I’m a little upset with his buddy’s parents too, because I think they should have encouraged our son to go with us instead of offering for him to stay with them. What say you?

Dear Reader,

This is a new one on me. What kid gives up Colorado skiing for working out? 

Y’all do know my hair frizzes straight up each time I receive one of these read-between-the-lines psychological questions, sure enough, as if I stuck a finger in a Christmas light bulb socket with it turned on. I can see ol’ Clark Griswold, now. Y’all know I don’t claim to be that bright, but we’ll giver ’er a try. 

My first thought actually has nothing to do with working out. Yes, you are right. For high schoolers, unless they are in a late state playoff after Christmas, they should be able to take a few days off during the holidays. Notice I said days, not weeks. 

I suppose something could be brewing behind that snowman … and it’s not hot chocolate. It usually comes down to a girl in the mix somewhere. Then again, maybe he is just that serious about working toward a scholarship and has a valid fear of getting hurt on the slopes. Maybe your son is wise beyond his years. Injuries can spoil chances of saddling-up with scholarship offers, not to mention they hurt like the dickens.  

If this is a new tradition for your family, my guess is he just doesn’t want change at Christmastime. Or — and this is a big or — that purty little gal is pulling on his heartstrings to stay behind. He could be torn between spending time with her, or traveling with his family and then feeling like the Grinch. Oh, the G-force those gals have on our sons’ when their heads turn and their hearts go pitter-patter over a girl. Why, it’s downright frightening for mamas. 

Since his senior year is around the corner and time is short, he could be thinking he’d better take advantage of the time they have — if he’s even thinking that far in advance. Lots of maybe’s here, but like I said … reading between the lines. 

The other thing that comes to mind and it chills me like icicles to be this honest, but maybe your son enjoys his friend’s family for various reasons instead of spending spare time with his own family. Does it feel like sand paper rubbing friction when all of you are together? Do you and you husband argue? Is chaos lurking behind every family gathering? Do tempers fly? Is alcohol a problem with the adults? I know these are very personal questions. Please keep in mind I don’t want to know the answers. The questions are only there for you to mull over and consider, is all. 

And by the way, there are no Norman Rockwell families out there. Even if you think his buddy’s family has it together, I tend to doubt its peaches and cream all the time. Put another log on that picture-perfect fire please, and hang those stockings with care.

Have an old fashion heart-to-heart talk with your son. Be honest with him. Tell him this stung a smidge and pricked your heart. If you are honest with him, I’m almost sure he’ll be honest with you. I believe your family just might huddle closer once your hearts open and y’all clear the air. Keep your cool no matter what he says. Give him the opportunity to share his feelings without jumping into soot from the fireplace.

Remember in the end, you are the parent — he is still the child. And since you are the parent, it’s a good idea for him to listen to you and do what you ask. In all seriousness, he has to obey your wishes, regardless of how he feels.  

Christmas day will come no matter how you celebrate it. Just make sure your son knows how much you love him, no matter where he spends the day.  

•    •    •

Dear Football Mom,

Is cheerleading a sport? I know you usually answer football questions, but thought I’d try to get your input here. My daughter is going to cheer next year for football at a Division-I college, and yet they don’t offer scholarships for cheerleaders. Something is wrong with that. 

Dear Reader,

I have to agree. College cheerleaders should be awarded full scholarships, period. 

Depending on the school, some do give monies for room and board, books or compensate the difference for out-of-state tuition. But generally, not all of the tuition. Not all of it, at all. Usually one or two expenses and that’s it. Partial scholarships do exist, as well as other scholarships such as academic and the like. They all apply. But a full-fledged cheerleader scholarship, like football scholarships have yet to be common practice, though it should be.   

Cheerleaders matter. They matter a lot. Truthfully, I’d like to see a team win without them. 

When football players try to get a crowd pumped up during a game, it’s a sign of weakness and desperation. I actually want to whup-upside the head of some football-playing boys when I see them fellers turn into cheerleaders on the field. Good golly, guys, keep your heads in the game, Buck-a-roos. The cheers will come when you play tough and nail your assignments. Let the cheerleaders do their job and you do yours.    

Cheerleaders matter. Yes, they flat-out matter. Is cheerleading a sport? It should be.   

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