My son would probably split his side laughing if he knew that I was writing about football in this week’s blog, but I wanted to chime in on the talk regarding the possibility of football becoming a ‘safer’ game in light of player injuries and those consequences. My son has played football since he was in 2nd grade. He started with Pop Warner and is still going strong now in a different league where he plays/practices on the same team with kids in high school. As a middle-schooler, he plays on the junior squad and the older guys play on the senior squad, but they all practice together and my son often considers it his primary goal to take down one (or more)of the bigger guys.
As far as changing the game to make it less violent, I have to say that at this time I sit on both sides of the fence er sideline. I certainly want to know that my child is safe and will walk away from every game he plays without the risk of injury. What also concerns me however is how my son would feel about this game he so dearly loves if it were to change to such an extent. I mean, this guy…he’s one of the smallest on the team but the man loves to hit and be hit. And for an active, active, active boy that sort of release has turned him into a more confident and focused individual in my opinion. When he first started playing, the coaches were of course doubtful that he’d bring anything to the game given his size. After the first tackling practice, they were convinced and told his dad that they wished they had 20 more lbs to pack on him, because his heart and drive were awesome.
He’s still playing, still loving the game and still stunning his coaches and his teammates with all that determination. But I know it’s also about what he gets from the game that builds all that excitement for it. As a parent, I’d love to see more interest taken in the way the game is taught- teaching kids at these young ages the CORRECT way to block and tackle. I’d also like to see more interest taken in enhancing uniforms to make them safer when the kids (and adults) take and give these hits.
I certainly don’t know enough about this game to share any sort of authoritative commentary on it. I can only speak as a mom who enjoys seeing how her son comes alive on practice days and football Saturdays. I do know that lots of time and consideration need to be taken before firm decisions on how to ‘improve’ the sport are made.