Flag Football and the Spark

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This post was generously sponsored by Future for Football, but all opinions are my own!

My kids have never been the athletic ones. They’ve never mastered a cool sports move just from watching the professionals play; they aren’t the kids that score the winning run or get picked first at recess basketball. And that has always been ok with me. My boys are good at other things. 

Then my oldest hit fifth grade. All the boys were playing basketball and soccer and touch football at recess – and he wasn’t getting picked to be on a team. At all. Ever. In the past, he had always been fine chatting with friends or hanging out on the slide or swings, but in fifth grade that wasn’t gonna fly. He came home in tears one day after getting teased for scoring a point in the wrong goal on the basketball court, and we knew something had to change.

And that something that we changed – it made all the difference. 

My oldest son had been playing flag football for a few seasons, but hadn’t really found HIS team or HIS position. A couple of his friends were playing on a team together and he decided to join. It was a more competitive team than he was used to, and now he had people that he knew were counting on him. It was time to get serious. Suddenly, he was watching professional football with Dad and playing catch with anyone that stepped foot in the front yard. His coach moved him to a new position and he absolutely flourished. He still was not the kid that would score the game-winning point, but he was the kid that had confidence. He was invested in the games, he was cheering for his team, he was touching the ball and pulling the flags. 

And I was proud. He was the kid that high-fived someone after every single play. He was the best encourager and the loudest cheerer. 

And then he pulled the flag that saved the game. 

Do you know what he remembers from that game? Not the absolute elation of something he had worked so hard for happening or his coach doing the Griddy with him to celebrate. It was that his friend had his best run that game. Flag football gave him so many skills, both sports-related and not. He can play catch with anyone now, and was picked fifth at recess two days in a row. He knows how it feels to win gracefully and to “lose like a winner”. But the best part is that he’s felt that spark now. The one where your hard work sometimes pays off. The one where you want that win so bad – and then you get it. The one where you should be blocking, but your teammate is making the perfect throw and you can’t look away. The one where you’re part of something amazing. 

Flag football gave him that spark, and that’s something I’ll never forget.

Future For Football is an initiative of the National Football Foundation to promote and celebrate the game at all levels. Future For Football celebrates the individuals, organizations and communities nationwide who positively impact or are impacted by the sport of football. Visit FutureForFootball.com to find a league near you and for other helpful resources.

 

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