I watched the last 30 minutes of Caden’s football practice tonight. I typically don’t stay the entire two hours as I spend a good portion doing my run up Mueller Park Canyon. Tonight I was back a little earlier and watched as Caden’s team split in two and scrimmaged against each other.
Caden is the second smallest kid on the team. He is the very youngest by a few months. He started out playing football the same way he approaches so many things in his life: full force attack and experience be damned. He’s always been able to pick things up quickly thanks to his competitive nature but he struggles once he comes to a learning “plateau”. He came up against one of these plateau’s last week with football and he struggled mightily with his play in his game last Saturday.
As his mother, I was greatly frustrated. This kid does not like to lose, does not like to stand on the sidelines, and certainly doesn’t let somebody else beat him out. But his attitude and commitment just seemed lacking and my “encouragement” to get him back to where he once was most assuredly would not show up as a best practice in Parents Magazine.
Finally, I realized that I needed to just reassure him that if he just worked hard, he could get back the position he was once used to on his football team. He is starting to get to the age where sports teams will ask a lot of him and he will need to decide if he loves the sport enough to make a commitment to work his hardest. Yes, it’s crazy that it starts so young these days. I was 11 before I played on a competition soccer team and these days it starts at 7.
Anyway, back to football. Caden took it heart today (oh my gosh, he actually listened to me!) and he went straight up to his coach and asked him what he could do better, how he could work harder. His coach is a smart man. He leaned over so he was the same height as Caden, looked straight in his face and said, “You are doing a great job, Brewster. Practice your tackles and you will get even better.” He smiled, put his hand on Caden’s shoulder and then said, “Let’s get to work, okay? Let’s go have fun!”
Caden ended up making some great tackles at the end of practice. He was back in his running back position for a few plays, too, and loved the opportunity to carry the football a little bit. And I was watching on the sidelines with a big smile on my face.
When he came over after practice was done, he had a huge grin spread across his adorable freckled face and said, “Did you see me, Mom? Did you see my tackling? When I made those tackles, I thought ‘My mom is going to be so proud of me!'”
Dang kid. Almost making me cry. 🙂 I will always be proud of you, buddy, no matter what.