Here we are, Junior year of high school. We're still playing football! Since our school doesn't actually "cut" in most of the sports, we don't even have to worry too much about what team we're playing on. We know we're at least as good as some of the other guys playing up on Varsity, so we're pretty confident that's where we're going to be. Sure, we'd get more reps in certain positions we play if we played down on JV, which would ultimately make us a stronger player (especially next year, when as a Senior it will really matter!); but hey! It's VARSITY! And that's where we want to be. That's where we deserve to be.
Gah. Reading through that paragraph literally causes my stomach to clench. I get tense and all stressed out, and do you know why? Go back and read through that paragraph again, and see if you catch just what is being said that is making me wonky.
Did you catch it? Read it again.... slower this time. And pay special attention to all use of any pronouns.
Get it yet?
Yep. That persistent use of the word "WE".
Now, regardless of whether or not you know me as an actual, live person or not, I will confess something here. I, The Sports Mama, have never--not once--donned a pair of football pads. I've never even tried on a helmet. Not even for a Halloween costume. And despite the fact that Jock once mentioned at a Thanksgiving dinner that he was thankful he got his athletic talent from me, I'm definitely not really in the running to EVER put on a football uniform. Ever. So why on earth am I including myself in what he does or doesn't do on the field?
As parents, I think we're all guilty at one time or another of trying to live vicariously through our children. If you try to tell me that you don't do that, I'm just going to remind you that you don't have a teenager yet. Trust me. When your child is old enough, you WILL try to relive certain moments (or live them for the first time if you didn't get to do it when you were that age) as they grow up. For Coach and I, we apparently try to live through our boys athletic prowess. It's easy enough to do, as our boys really are athletically talented. What we don't factor in often enough is that OTHER parents have children who are just as talented as our boys. Well, in their opinion, anyway. However, we keep being smacked in the face with the fact that the coaches? Are actually (mostly) impartial. And they really do (mostly) make the decisions that are best for the team.
So when Jock explained to me that he was pulled back down to JV for this season, at least to start off, he waited for me to finish my "but-you're-every-bit-as-good-as-those-other-boys-and-I-can't-believe-THAT-one-is-still-on-Varsity-when-you're-not-and-why-are-you-not-more-upset-about-this" spiel. Quite patiently, actually. And then he looked at me, asked if I was done, and very calmly said
Mom, I'm ok with it. I actually would PREFER to be down at JV right now. At least there, I get to start instead of riding the Varsity bench.
He might as well have had the words I'M OK WITH IT printed on a towel and smacked me across the face with it. That stunned me that much. Which made me realize a few things. One, (and this one shocked me) I'm not the one playing, he is. Two, if he's ok with it, I need to be. And three, he's got a good point. Where is the glory in being on the Varsity if you never get to play? Wouldn't anyone rather be one of the stars of the JV team, if it means playing time? He's guaranteed a starting spot, and has been approached by mulitple coaches at that level about how they are so glad he's down there, they can definitely use his ability and his leadership skills to strengthen what could be a not-so-strong JV team. And in making this move graciously, he's proving to the coaches that he is willing to do what it takes to be an asset to the program, and to strengthen himself.
(On a side note, I'm discovering I can spin just about anything to make him look good to a college recruiter. I should hire myself out to other parents, no?)
And then he reminded me that football is NOT what he wants his career to be. He's been planning for a while now to go into law enforcement. So for him, football is something he enjoys that he would like to continue playing in college; but it's not his life.
I can read between the lines there; and he's telling me to back off. I get it. And he's right. Besides, I remember how much I just love watching him PLAY. And now I get to do that a little more this season.
Who knew that one of the hardest things about parenting a teenager would be simply letting them enjoy the life they are living?