Today I will RSVP for my son’s football banquet. An event I gladly attend solo, yet another uncomfortable “mom and football” scenario. You see, “mom” and “football” don’t go well together. It is A-OK for a mother to be her son’s biggest fan, cheering him on from the stands. But don’t ask for off-season camp recommendations or worse yet, advocate for your son – That dear mom, is a no-no. There are unspoken rules about a mother’s involvement. Follow the rules or be schooled by both coaching staff and sideline dads. I have tried to work my way around these rules, and again and again I have been shut down. When my son was seven, playing flag-football and punched in the face by a MMA wanna-be, the coach told me “Sit down Mom!” This was before I uttered a word. I stood up from my well-worn Coleman and the coach looked at me with such contempt, I thought he would eject me from the peewee game.
Situations like these are uncomfortable for me, but more importantly they influence my son’s opportunities. Throughout my time in the stands, I have watched while fathers cajole and posture on their son’s behalf. A pecking order develops off the field with the biggest Peck securing opportunities not necessarily equivalent to his son’s talent. A parent advocating for their child shines a light on that kid in a sea of football players. Of course great talent gets attention. Gifted players give notice on the field. Which leaves the determined players like my son, to make the most of the little time they are given. Gladly, this is how my son went from sitting the bench to starting the second half of the season. He is a great kid. He could use an advocate and he has a “Mom”.
You may be asking what exactly is my gripe. Should parents be able to influence a kid’s sport? Why is it that “Moms and Football” don’t go together? The reality is that I have no complaints. How can I? What I have come to understand is that my kid has been given a gift. He is learning how to advocate for himself. He is learning that hard work and dedication eventually pay off. His mother is learning that being his biggest fan, is enough. And this fan will sit quietly at that football banquet grinning from ear-to-ear.