All of you football and hockey parents are so brave. I steered clear of those two sports as long as I possibly could. I ran into a Buffalo Bills football player at my chiropractor’s office. I asked him if he would let his son play football. He told me that he wouldn’t let his son play football until high school and that stayed with me. Max told me he wanted to play school football instead of school soccer as a freshman and I chickened out. This year, when he asked again, we finally said yes.

Before the first game, Seth and I were a nervous wreck. I watched the game intensely and I learned more football than I ever have. Max and his team played awesome, and I took a deep sigh of relief. I’ve already moved on to be nervous for the next game, because I heard the team they are playing next is really good. I will say a lot of prayers for Max and his team to stay safe.

I’ve only gotten to see one game as write this, but Max has been practicing with his team for months. I’ve realized that I have already learned a lot from football. I’m going to share my lessons so far at the beginning of the football season. I will revisit this at the end of the season to see what I learn from my first season as a football mom.

What can we learn from football?

  • Persistence is one of my favorite words and my son also learned how important this word is. He was persistent about his desire to play football and it paid off for him. He and his team were persistent on the football field, and it paid off. Persistence is always one of the main keys to success in every area of life.
  • This experience has taught me so far that it is good to try new things. A lot of us tend to stay safe in the same things. The same sport on the same team is not always the best option. Change can be a good thing and can open wonderful new doors. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Take risks and open yourself up to even better things for yourself.
  • Insist that your kids join something at school. Being a part of a team or group is so good for their mental health. I love that Max is part of a team and so does he. The comradery in football is something special.
  • Practice pays off in every area of life. The football team practices six days a week for hours. All of that practice showed up during the football game. Whenever my kids tell me they are struggling at something I always tell them that it takes a lot of practice.
  • Seth and my dad explained to me that Max’s coach was making awesome adjustments in the game to help the team to succeed. As they go through the game and learn about the other team, they may have to pivot from their original plan. That relates so much to our daily lives. We need to make adjustments every day. We may expect things to go one way and realize we need to go in a different direction. This can help us to be successful every day in marriage, in parenting, at work, etc. I had a very smart therapist tell me that we need to adjust our expectations daily.
  • Max was explaining to me that they study patterns and plays at practice. He is learning a ton about football, and how to be a successful outside linebacker. I study human patterns every day. Studying patterns is a key to being a successful therapist. Family and marriage therapists are studying patterns. Max and his team are using patterns to have a successful game. In marriage we have negative and positive patterns with our spouse. We want to continue the positive ones and tweak the negative ones.
  • Do you know that visualization helps you to succeed. Sports players like football players are visualizing the play. I visualize things in my life and how I want it to go. Play things over in your brain. You will be amazed at the power of your brain and visualization.
  • I asked Max how he has already learned so much about football. He says that he listens intently to the coaches at practice. As I get older, I notice that I want to talk less and listen more. Having good listening skills will help you succeed in a sport, in your marriage, with your kids, with your clients, with your students, etc.
  • As a social worker, I mentioned that one of my favorite words is persistence. My second favorite word is consistency. Max and his football team have been consistent with their workouts and practices. Max came home from football practice yesterday and went straight to the basement to lift weights. He is really motivating me to workout. Mama needs to start lifting some weights ASAP. I can’t believe how hard he is working, and I am so impressed and inspired. Consistency will always be a key to your success in any area of your life including football.
  • You need a good leader that is respected. Their coach is leading the team all through practices and games. A good leader is clear, passionate, positive, encouraging, leads by example, forms bonds, is open minded, is always learning, has good self-awareness, delegates, has empathy and understanding, treats the team with respect and so much more. Max’s team has amazing coaches. The same qualities that make a good leader in a coach makes you a good leader as a parent and in the workforce.
  • A successful football team learns to work together. Max was a goalie for soccer and often felt alone. He is in a different position now as a linebacker. He is part of a defensive team that all work together to stop the opponents. Our family is a team. Whenever I talk about everything I need to do my friend reminds me to involve my family team – and my outside support system.
  • We should always evaluate how things are going. The football team looked at their game footage to evaluate what they did right and what they did wrong. That applies to our family and our marriage too. Evaluate with your spouse and kids on a regular basis what is going right and what needs to be altered. This is a good idea to do at weekly family meetings. My friend has regular Sunday night meetings with her family. I have another friend who has weekly marital meetings on Sundays with her husband. Sundays appear to be a good day for family meetings to prepare together for the week ahead.

Those are just a few lessons that I have learned from football so far this year. This is Max’s first time playing football. He did play flag football in the past which counts a little bit too. This is just the beginning and I have already learned so much and so has Max. I can’t wait to write this again at the end of the season and see what else I learn from my son playing football.

I have been around football my whole life. My father and brother love football. My brother played football for many years. I was a cheerleader, so I knew a little bit about football to lead the cheers. However, I have never had as much motivation as I do now to learn the game of football. I think I will finally learn the game well. I’m excited for this football season. It is making the Fall more fun for our entire family including all the grandparents.

I wish my son and his team a safe and successful year of football. I can’t wait to see what else I learn along the way with him.

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R

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