Sunday, August 31, 2008

Football and Fear

Football has completely overtaken our lives. Seriously. We practice for 2 hours three nights a week..with games every Saturday. I had heard this would happen and indeed it has. I say "we" have practice because we all do it. My oldest son is on the field, at least one parent is there watching and typically there is a little brother running around somewhere as well. This has been quite a journey already and we are only in our 4th week.

I'm not embellishing when I say that I clicked the "sign-up now" on-line registration button with tears in my eyes. I wouldn't say I'm an over-protective mother, but there certainly was some fear involved in allowing my first born to take the field in full pads. And like I said before - there really are warning labels on those pads about this "dangerous sport". Even though it was scary and I was emotional, it seemed like the right time. I knew I couldn't let my fear keep my son from this dream of his for another season.

That first week of practice swept him off his feet, literally. I don't think any of us had an idea of what it would require of him. The physical demand is greater than any other season he has played. I can only imagine what is all going on inside his head. I've had to completely abandon my fear and become his biggest cheerleader and motivator. I confess, I suck at this. Yesterday for instance, they were doing bear crawls up and down the field; which, by the way, is infested with fire ants and stickers. Part of this included a somersault with the helmet on. I was watching with great compassion, until Michael sat down on the field. Rrrrr. I wanted to yell at him: GET UP! But when one of the coaches did yell at him - my mommy radar was off the chart. How screwed up is that? Like, I can yell at him but you better not!

Saturday they had a scrimmage game. Michael walked off the field saying "I took a hit and I gave a hit and now I'm not so afraid." He survived. He is bruised (all over) but not hurt. He is afraid of getting hurt. There is a battle with fear. I've seen it on his face, heard it in his voice. And I am well acquainted with this emotion. I hear myself telling him "You gotta face your fear head on. Life takes risk. Your gonna have to fight for this." But I have to I hear myself? How many times has fear fenced me in? How often am I unwilling to do the hard work? When I see him sitting down on the field maybe I am really seeing all the times I've given up. And that's the reason something so strong comes over me. I really do want to scream "You can't quit! Don't give in....keep fighting for what you want. GET UP!" One of these nights I might not be able to hold it in.

This song is challenging me, stirring up desire. At times, I feel surrounded by things to fear, stuff to worry about, but I really don't want to live that way. I do so desperately wanna break free! I want to dream. I want to reap the harvest of work hard. I want to run! I want my boys to live in that same freedom. Maybe I can show them how, or maybe I can just watch and learn.

Life lessons from football. I hope I get it.

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