Sports talk

Tim and I disagreed for the first time yesterday.  HA!  Not really, but honestly it was our first parenting discussion that I feel we are seriously at a crossroads, where neither one of us will budge and I'm not sure how it is going to work itself out.  Here's the issue... Tim feels that we should let our kids do whatever the hell they want to do even if it means putting them in harms way.  OK - that might be slightly overstating the fact, and a little bit of a dramatic way of saying what I want to say (I just think I'll win more of my readers over if I put it like that).  The example that we discussed was sports.  Basically, I DO NOT want Luke to play football (the American football that is for my European and Australian readers).  Jewish boys do not play football (except for Tim).  Just like Jewish boys aren't cops and don't join the marines... they just don't play football.  We Jewish moms just aren't wired to deal with the constant worry.  His religion is really not the only reason I don't want him to play though.  It's just not a wise sport to choose (unless of course you're 6'6 and 300 pounds and everyone who looks at you states, "I sure hope you play football.").  Tim played football through high school and college and is PAYING for it still today.  He'd be the first to admit he's a 38 year old in a 50 year old's body because of football.  His back is a mess - because of football.  Tim thinks we should let Luke choose what he wants to do and be supportive of it.  I think we should encourage him to play other sports from an early age (like now at age 1) so that football doesn't look as appealing.   Just like I won't encourage sky diving or bungee jumping, I don't see why we can't discourage a sport that requires men ramming full speed into one another and piling on top of each other.  (I'll also admit I'm not even a fan of WATCHING the sport but would have no problem if Luke enjoys viewing the silliness from the couch).  Tim is worried that I'll be one of "those moms" that prohibits their children from doing something that their friends are doing and then require Luke to admit, "my mommy won't let me".  Well, I just might be, and if it is for my kid's safety and benefit... I'll be ok with that (see I AM a good mother).   Tim retorted at one point during this discussion that gymnastics is very dangerous for girls and I'm not discouraging Hannah from that, and I told him, if he felt strongly about it, then I'd have her stop (although I had my fingers crossed behind my back).  That shut him up... but didn't get him to change his mind on football.   I don't think any guys read my blog but my question is, is it most dad's desire to see their boy play football?  Is there nothing that would make a dad prouder?  Am I going to be up against Tim and Luke's "manhood" if I press this subject as he gets older?  If so, I'm ready for that fight.  Can you ask your husband's for their take on this?  I grew up in a house where neither my dad nor my brother had any interest in football so I already know their opinion.  My dad would most likely recommend a much safer subdued sport like golf or even baseball where only a helmut and penis protector is required.   One thing I do have to say though, is if Luke continues as he is with his speech development (everything under the sun, and my roof, is a "buh") then maybe the sport of meatheads will be appropriate.  But for now, I'm going to secretly be sitting Luke in front of Major League Soccer or baseball games, placing a lacrosse stick in his hand and quietly whispering in his ears each night, "football is for wussies, football is for wussies".  


Headless Mom said...

I bet you've been waiting all day for a reply on this one? My answer will be multifaceted, just so you know...

I've always loved football. I know that there are inherent dangers in sport that has people hitting other people. For instance, I would never let one of my boys take up boxing!, but I really love most sports with football at the top of the list.

My youngest (7) will be playing tackle football for the first time this fall and he is over the moon about it. I love that my kids want to try a bunch of stuff. They also play baseball and golf, have tried soccer and track, as well as other non-sports related stuff. I am of the school of thought that they should try anything that they want, within reason. We let #2 try flag football last winter to see if he really wanted to play and it only fueled the fire more. We also had some friends whose son played and he hated it and doesn't want to play again. Yes, I'm worried about him getting hurt but most leagues for kids emphasize safety above all else. Yes, they could get hurt walking down the street. *sigh* No, it's not an easy decision.

At 1 Luke obviously hasn't developed a strong personality in the sports realm. For now my advice would be to let it go and try to take the lead from Luke. Yes, for dads it's hard not to push their kids into what they love-it's natural!- but trying all sorts of stuff and figuring out what the kids love is probably the most important thing. Mr. Lady wrote a great post about this last week, I think you might enjoy it. And it really talks about the dad-son sports bond.

After attending a fundraiser for my son's team last week I, for now, think we've made the right decision. Having hubby walk around introducing our son to his coach and other board members and watching him swell with pride when they were excited about #2 being on their team has so far made it worth it.

Relax, mom. Luke could end up like my #1 and want no part of football, AT.ALL.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, if Luke grows up to be 300lbs, would you let him play??? Just a thought??? But otherwise, definitely plop him in front of MLS, although that football can cause some injuries just as well. I think he will play baseball, as he's already gearing up for that. Play it out, see what he wants to do. And, I agree with Tim, gymnastics is a scary sport. I can't watch the flips on the balance beam. But, kids will be kids, let them choose and figure it out for themselves is how I look at it. But, you're the mom, you're entitled to some swaying in the child's life.

mum space said...

I've struggled with this issue too. Our son is in his first season of Rugby Union (perhaps the closest thing in Oz to American Football). It freaks me out. But I console myself with the knowledge that there is no contact until they are 12 and maybe he won't be interested in it anymore by then. I am making sure he has a wide range of interests so that he doesn't become one-tracked. I do have to say that he is enjoying himself and I do find team sports great for boys. I think baseball is a great team game but unfortunately it's just not big over here. Soccer is but our son played it last year and did not like it one bit. He is very fond of that so I think a golf clinic come our summer holidays could be a goer. Best of luck.

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