I’ve managed to get 7 or 8 really nasty comments lately on some of my older posts talking about Tyler’s football season. All from the same person who called me a horrible mother, a joke of a mom, a clueless idiot, and some other unrepeatable things. She just could not believe that I would allow my child to play such a “barbaric, dangerous, and stupid sport” and flat out told me I should never have been allowed to adopt a child. She’s a lovely person, obviously. The comments didn’t bother me but they did make me think. We encourage our kids to play sports. We make the sacrifices necessary for them to play sports. I fully believe that there are lessons to be learned from playing sports, lessons that you don’t always learn from other things in the same way you learn them from sports. And those lessons are valuable and necessary. And the lessons learned from playing a varsity sport are immense.
1. Perseverance. There is no quit in varsity sports. There is no quit. Tyler never missed a practice with the exception of the ones he had to miss because of the concussion. And the coaches practically had to lock him in the classroom to keep him off the field. He practiced through 2 stomach viruses that had him puking off the side of the field. He practiced hurt, he practiced tired. There is no quit. And there’s no slacking off. If he slacked off there were 8 guys waiting in the wings to take his starting spot. Period. They were working as hard to take his spot as he was to keep it.
2. Toughness. There’s nothing like varsity sports to teach you the difference between pain and injury. Pain is something you deal with. You sack up, gut it out, and keep going. That’s varsity sports. Injury is something totally different. Tyler shed blood this season, he played hurt and in pain, he took a lot of Advil. It toughened him up.
3. Teamwork. The bonds formed on the football team this year were amazing. These guys fought through a tough schedule, lots of injuries, and some terribly difficult practices together. Bonds are made over blood shed on the field. It’s been great watching them become great friends off the field now that the season is over.
4. Sacrifice. Varsity football is an all consuming thing. It is a year round sacrifice. Tyler had zero free time during the season, he barely saw some his friends from outside school, he hardly played the xbox, and any free time he did carve out he spent sleeping. He practiced in 100 degree heat in the middle of the summer in full pads for days on end. He knows what it means to sacrifice to be the best. And it didn’t end when the season ended. He’s in the middle of off-season football workouts right now on top of playing basketball. 3 days a week he does weight lifting with the football guys in the afternoon, then they do some wrestling or some field work, and then he goes to basketball practice. On Saturdays he does football field practice in the morning and goes straight to basketball practice afterwards. It’s year round.
5. Commitment. Varsity football demands commitment. There are no days off. At his school playing varsity football means you are expected to uphold the standards and image of the team and the school. There are no exceptions. It’s not just a commitment to play football. It’s a commitment to be a good role model in the school.
I’ve seen the changes in Tyler from the end of his freshman year to right now after just one season playing varsity football for his new school. He’s a different person. He’s more confident, he’s more self-assured, he’s more personable, and he’s more mature. And those lessons have been continued through basketball season. I’m pleased with the lessons he’s learning from varsity sports. He’s learning lessons that he’ll use throughout his lifetime. And that’s priceless.