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Dear Football Mom: How do I ease my wife's fear about pee wee football?
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Dear Football Mom,

Our son is 8. I want to sign him up this spring to play pee wee football, but my wife has gone bonkers with worry about injuries. I feel it is time he plays, and he does love the game. He wants to play. Help?

Dear Reader,

Oh great, just where I want to be — in the middle of an uprising. Football matters. It matters big time. Let’s see if we can figure out why.   

Mamas are like that. We worry. We fret. We rationalize. We overthink most anything our sons or daughters do or don’t do. It’s a natural thang for mamas. Agonize till our hair falls out. 

I suppose I could quote stats all day long, but the truth is your son could get hurt, anywhere, anytime. Injuries can happen no matter what sport your child chooses. Shhhh. I hate to bring this to your attention, but he could sustain a concussion, broken arm, broken leg or most any injury on his playground at school. He may even suffer more by watching TV or obtain a serious finger abrasion playing PlayStation.  

Football is rich with teaching tools that carry a guy into manhood and can positively affect him for the rest of his life. It never hurts to exchange some frustration for green grass stains. In fact, I have it on good authority that it does a feller good. Football is a controlled fight. And if a boy’s going to fight, better it be controlled.

Football teaches teamwork like no other sport. It brings kids together, demonstrates decision-making techniques, trains boys for organizational skills, teaches the principle of others first. Football helps to make the players of the game mentally strong. At its heart, boys eventually become men of integrity. 

You and your wife will need to compromise. I know, that’s a lightbulb piece of information, but it is still true. Come together, sit down, and hammer this out before going off and signing your son up without her approval. You might suggest he try it for a year and if she still feels the same way at the end of the season. Try another deal. 

 I have a sneaking feeling once she sees your son shine on the field, and she gets a taste of football, she’ll be one of them-there bleacher huggers, and there’ll be no stopping her after that. Let’s hope so.  

•    •    •

Dear Football Mom, 

Please explain to me why, after tireless efforts on behalf of football parents’ raising money to plow up and replace the entire high school football field, the track and field parents are raising Cain. Yes, their sport will have to play elsewhere. We offered the football practice field, and they are still griping. I know this sounds trivial, but I don’t understand the big fuss they are making.

Can’t they see that the field will be in much better shape come next spring for track and field, too? It’s a temporary fix to have them on the practice field. They are still upset because football will be sharing the practice field as well, thus splitting time between the two sports. 

They went to the county superintendent, and now the project was put on hold. How can a few spoil everything that a majority worked their tails off for? We’ve provided all funds, not one cent coming out of the county budget. We were supposed to break ground in a few weeks. Now, who knows when.  

Dear Reader,

My smart-aleck, knee-jerk reaction is to ask the track and field team parents which sport makes the most money — football, or them. Of course, this is rude because everyone knows its football, y’all. Tunnel vision is contagious. 

This is where you’ve got to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Negotiate. 

What if football parents were to seek out another field, instead of staying on the high school campus. Perhaps a county pee wee team would be willing to share their field for high school practice this spring. Rarely do pee wee teams hold spring practice. Or, maybe use the closest middle school field. You may have to switch times for availability. Your team might have to load up on busses for transport to an alternate field, but either way, at least you are showing willingness to compromise. 

Then of course, the coaches could get creative and use the gym for part of spring practice. Conditioning is huge for spring; it doesn’t hurt to run up and down bleachers, and the court can be used for walk-throughs, teaching new plays, or game planning and meetings. Then again, the basketball coaches may tar and feather y’all. Alternating times and clearing it with basketball first, before bopping into the gym would be the solution there.

By checking other options, sure shows good faith effort on the football side of things. That should help get another conversation started with the schoolboard. And, that’s the goal, open communication. 

Did football get a permit or permission from the superintendent’s office when y’all started the project? I would think boosters would have had to have approval by the county and schoolboard. If so, since they halted construction, hold their feet to the fire and present an alternative plan like the ones I just suggested. Make sure you have a couple of plans to suggest to the committee or superintendent and then go get-er-done. Persist. But, don’t be a sass or smart-aleck like my first sentence. Remember, flies are attracted to sugar, not vinegar! 

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