Each autumn season, I had inquired to my son the exact same question: “Do you wish to play in a football league this year?” His answer was always, “No, dad,” generally followed by, “I think I need to play soccer.” Finally, I’d given up. I assumed soccer was going to be his fall sport while he played basketball in winter and baseball in spring/summer.
But last fall he came to me out of the blue and said, “Father, I think I need to play football this season.” My reply was, “What about football?” (After finally making the mental transition that he wasn’t interested). His response, “Perhaps next year.” Well “next year” arrived several months past, and once again he chose football.
I don’t have anything against soccer, as my daughter started playing 10 years ago, which led to my first experience coaching youth sports, and she was extremely great. So, I have truly developed to understand and really like football.
So, I had been naturally excited when he made a decision to try football, afterward chose it again the next season.
Why not football?
I’m still not certain what his aversion to football was early on. Maybe it’s not wanting the physical contact. My son, like me at his age, isn’t the largest kid in his peer group. The big hits make a lot of the highlight reels when you see TV. Maybe he was watching and thinking, “If that is what occurs when you play football, I want no part of it!”
Maybe it’s too little exposure. We did not play football substantially in our home, as I look back a few years past. Perhaps he simply didn’t have enough exposure to be interested or comprehend it.
The fantastic equalizer in youth football …the flag
After footballs made it into our house (lots of them), along with he and his brother started wrestling, tumbling, tackling and much more in our house, I presumed purchasing some flags will be good. They were loved by him, they were loved by his brother, and I loved them.
Now, I can not say 100 percent that buying a set of flags was the turning point, but I do believe the flag is the great equalizer in youth football. Not all youngsters want to put on pads, handle or be handled. Actually, I think some children are merely outright fearful of it. And that’s OK.
There is a very small portion of players who continue to move up in levels in football, much like other sports. So, football might not be their matter in the long term, however, it could be something they experience and enjoy now. Flag football supplies this chance for several kids.
Strapping on a flag belt with two flags attached can be less daunting to children and be a good way to start.
Flag to tackle may be next …
I’m grateful for whoever came up with the concept of flag football (bonus points for anyone who can tell me this fact in the comments below). It supplied years of enjoyment and learning experiences for me personally as a youth and is now beginning to do the exact same for my sons.
And everyone needs to begin somewhere. Just maybe after years of saying “I need to play flag football, father,” he will change up and say “I desire to play tackle football.” Only like with flag football, I will be excited for him and able to support him playing tackle football.