BoBo’s Freshman Football team played their last game of the year on Saturday. I sat in the stands, with all of the other proud parents, watching as our boys won yet another game. It was only a few months ago when I attended BoBo’s first game. During that game, I was torn between wanting him to play and not wanting him to risk the horrific injuries that you often hear about.
While I am still nervous about him, or any of the players, being injured, I can now watch the game without closing my eyes and holding my breath. I am actually sad that the season is coming to an end. Not only has football helped BoBo in the transition to high school, it has kept him motivated to do well in his academics. And he loves it like I love running.
As I sat watching this final game, the cheerleaders began warming up for the JV game. Freshman Football does not get cheerleading support and I have always thought that this was a stinky message to send to our ambitious players. As the cheerleaders began their thing, of pyramids and the sort, I began to appreciate their absence. They are a distraction. Yes, of course they are, but I say this for a different reason – they block the view of the game.
I began watching them instead of the game for a while. I thought back to when I wanted to be a cheerleader. This was back in junior high school. I remember being a little miffed when they told me that it would be cheerleading or the sports that I loved – cross-country, track and gymnastics.
But cheer was very different back then. They didn’t throw the cheerleaders around like rag dolls, or have them balance on one foot high in the air. I was 4’11” and 98 pounds back in high school, and if I had been a cheerleader, I would have been the team rag doll.
When the cheerleaders nearly dropped one of the girls, I thought about how lucky I was to have BoBo in a sport where he gets pads. The statistics for injuries in high school sports overwhelmingly puts football at the top of the list, but cheerleading doesn’t seem to be included in the stats. I think this is because not all states consider it a sport. It is, however, risky business – where girls actually die from fatal mistakes.
At least with football, you anticipate injuries. It doesn’t make it any easier to watch your kid out there on the field playing such a rough sport. What *does* make it easier for me, is that BoBo LOVES it. Who could argue with that? I got hurt from distance running, but I surely *don’t* want to give it up.