Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One BIG Dude

My youngest son, Kevin, got the chance to meet an NFL player this past Saturday. Zach Strief graduated from Milford HS (district I live in) and is now a tackle for the New Orleans Saints.
The guy is big.


I mean, "big like a frikkin' HOUSE" big.

He's 6'7", 350 pounds. I wasn't kidding when I told people he was a foot taller than me! The top of Kevin's head barely reaches Zach's waist. His hands are twice as thick as mine.

The dude is beyond BIG.

But you know what he did? He voluntarily attended pee wee games on Saturday, his only bye week this season, and then spoke a bit to the kids at the end of each game. He tossed a football with them. He smiled, and encouraged them, even though they'd just lost by 2 points to an 0-4 team. He reminded them that winning, although fun, isn't everything, and that if you're having fun you'll never grow tired of the game.

These words of wisdom came after parents, disappointed by the teams' performance, attacked our coach. In front of the kids. In front of Zach. In front of the entire field, they verbally accosted the coach, nearly to the point of getting arrested. It makes me wonder who was playing the game- the parents, or their sons. I don't agree with every decision the coach makes, nor do I necessarily enjoy spending 6 hours a week at practice for a 48 minute game in which my son gets very little play time in, but my SON enjoys it. I gladly take him to practice and games because he enjoys it- not because I WANT him to enjoy it. As long as Kevin wants to play and is enjoying it, I'll let him play. I'm not going to become a parent who forces their child to join an activity simply because that's what *I* want him to do- I want my kids to join activities because *they* want to.

Meeting Zach on Saturday was a thrill. It was fun because, of course, he's a local boy who made it to the NFL, but it was thrilling to see the excitement in my son's face as he played ball with this giant of a man. It was fun to hear Kevin telling my Mom about the experience later, saying "MEMA!!! I caught a pass from a REAL FOOTBALL PLAYER!!"

It was fun, because my SON enjoyed it, and after all.. isn't that playing sports is all about?


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