Raising football players. It’s a journey, but it’s in their blood…on both sides. No, not me, silly. My dad played for Florida 1949-53 and was drafted to the NY Giants. My husband also played for Florida, as did his dad and a couple of cousins. It is what we know. It’s what we live, but some days are harder than others. Today was that day for my high school freshman, Taylor. He wanted to be in a different position but they need him at JV quarterback. He had experience. He played that position through middle school. Being a part of a team means you don’t always get what you want. You have to go where the team needs you. This is probably the biggest reason I always played individual sports. The weight was mine alone. Now the biggest weight of the team is back on his shoulders. Ugh, as a mom that sucks, even at the middle school level. I can’t imagine being the mom of a college or NFL QB, but alas, I digress.
Today my 15 year old was front and center for a painful part of the game. Today, seconds after the handoff, a kid went down. Not just down, but with his foot turned in the wrong direction. It was the first play for this group in a scrimmage. The kid never cried, but screamed in agony. My camera adjustments were not yet set right so I didn’t capture the moment of the injury, thankfully. I saw it when I looked up and felt sick to my stomach. My big, tough son came away from the scene distraught. It was the first time he saw a real injury up close and personal and it shook him to the core.
He wanted me to put down the camera.
Call me crazy but I wanted to capture the scenes as they unfolded.
(Spoiler alert, the kid who went down is going to be fine after surgery tomorrow.)
What I saw was AMAZING. I watched a young team (varsity and JV were on the same field) unify, instantly. They came together as one team, for one player.
Taylor really struggled. I watched my son feel true empathy. He was very emotional. He was steps away from the kid and saw it happen. He was scared.
It was a little weird. Normally anytime my kids are hurt or sad I run to them. In this moment I knew this was a grow up moment. This is something he was going to deal with many times if he continued in the sport he loved. He had to go through it. Had to feel it. Had to fight through it and then find the way out.
I saw coaches and teammates come to him. Help him. Shake his hand. Tell him it was going to be okay. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Both his dad and I were there (his dad is a coach) but neither of us approached him. We all grew up today, and let go a little.
Taylor will tell you, he has waited his whole life to be here. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, his dad, his three half brothers who all played for this high school. He feels the weight of the legacy, and it’s a big one.
Proud mom of the kid in the red jersey.