We got of to a very sad start. Tackle football is unlike other sports, it is a "draft" type system. It has nothing to do with where you live or who your friends are. The coaches sit down and take turns picking names. There were eight 10-year-old boys from Caleb's elementary school all playing football so it never occurred to me that he wouldn't have a friend on his team. To our total discouragement, when the teams were assigned, every Providence boy was on the OTHER 10-year-old team. To add to the slap in the face, they practiced on a field 1/2 mile from our house. Caleb didn't know a single boy on his team, which I could live with, but the hard thing is that I had no car pool and they practiced about 15 minutes from our house, at Mt. Crest. (Two trips a day at 30 minutes round trip is one hour a day driving to football, not counting games.) I wanted to quit before it even started.
I tried to get him on the team with the Providence boys, but I was unsuccessful. In the process I learned that Caleb's Coach, John Belles is one of the best in the league. That proved to be true. He worked so well with Caleb and the entire team. I was totally impressed by him. It also worked out there there were some neighbor boys on the eight-year-old team that practiced in Hyrum at the same time as Caleb so the car pool thing worked out which was so important to me with 90 minute practices four days a week. I would have died without other moms to help drive!
The season didn't get any easier for me. In some ways it would have been better if I'd let Caleb start playing when he was eight, because he was defiantly the underdog. The coach was required to play him 10 plays each game, and I think he averaged about that. Ten plays is basically just kick offs, and kick-off returns. He played a couple of plays each game as nose guard and a little bit of defense at the end of the season. It was SO PAINFUL to have our entire lives revolve around football including every night and Saturday's to watch Caleb play ten pathetic plays each week!
Josh and I agreed with the coach that Caleb was not giving 100% at practices or in the games. He didn't push himself, but it felt impossible to inspire him to do better. Mid-season he started having extra practices with Dave and his best friend Isaac Low. He actually started pushing and he learned what 100% felt like. Unfortunately it was too late for the season. He had his position, and it was on the sideline.
He did have a team that he can be proud of. His team was one of two, of all the Mt. Crest teams, to win their devision. (The other team was the other 10-year-old team.) They were one of three Mt. Crest teams to make it to the play offs and the only team to make it to the second game of the play offs which they nearly won!
The great thing about football is that Caleb learned to work a little harder than he has worked before. He learned about being part of a team and about taking his sport seriously. He learned about dedication and about following directions. Most of all I saw an increase in his self confidence and sense of belonging. I think football contributed to this school year getting off to a good start. He identifies himself as a football player. Now - do I encourage him to do it again next year?! Can I live through another football season?!
His last game of the season was followed by the USU homecoming game. Who ever thought two non-athletic parents would be spending so much time at football games. I'm afraid or football days have just begun!!