I have always loved a good tackle almost as much as I love a touchdown.

Yes, Hank Williams Jr., I AM ready for some football!

Football has been a true love of mine for as long as I can remember. Well, even before I can remember: I have been going to UGA games since I was an infant. In turn, I proudly took my own daughter in utero to the GA/FLA game. Gotta start ’em early, right? I even played intramural football for my sorority and loved every minute. Don’t laugh – those girls will cut you! If I were bigger and braver, I would have loved to play for real and not just watch. Of course, when I was younger, I wanted to be a cheerleader, too, but mostly I wanted to be pretty and popular. As I got older, I quit watching the dancing and focused on the beauty of the game.

Now, if you invite me to watch a UGA game, do not think I am going to sit with you in the kitchen drinking wine and talking about window treatments. My ass is going to be with the men in front of the game, with a beer. I know the game, thanks to my dad/brother/uncle/grandfathers/husband/etc. who have all played in their time. Don’t worry, I won’t be asking questions or bothering anybody. I’ll be glued to the screen right with them. I will yell at the refs, I will cuss at Spurrier, I will scream “Get. Him!” in panic, from the top of my lungs. I like how it takes me to that space where I can blow off some primal steam.

I also like to win. I am a terrible loser. And by the way, my mom and grandmother are the same way. They are there to watch the game, damn it. After the game, we’ll go talk window treatments and wine.

So now I find myself in a bit of a pickle. My boy, my baby, my heart, is playing football. He is 11 and they are already playing men’s football. These boys are BIG. My boy is big, but these boys are BIG. My boy looks like a real football player out there in those pads and helmet. He is hitting. He is getting hit. And I am his mom and I don’t like it, not one little bit.

What’s a fan and mom to do? For starters, I don’t like those good hits as much anymore. I don’t want my boy to get hurt, and I don’t want any mom’s boy to get hurt. Because now I see all these boys, and those UGA young men, as somebody’s boy just like my boy.

I marvel at the amount of testosterone on the practice field. I see that now more than I used to, the Gladiator-ness of it all. I am of little to no help to my boy, although I think I do have some awesome sorority football stories (I was killer on defense…flags coming down everywhere, interceptions…glory days! Yes, I digress, I confess.)

I don’t know what it feels like in those pads and helmet. I don’t even want to know what it feels like. It’s part of being a man. The men of the family will help with that stuff. I am the mom and I make sure he has his inhaler and I make sure he sits down if his asthma acts up and he doesn’t want to sit down. I am the mom and I make sure he has his water. I am the mom and I cheer on his victories and comfort his defeats.

My boy loves playing as much as his dad/grandfathers/uncles did. He loves the game as much, if not more, than I do. He learns a lot from playing it and has had the most wonderful of men to coach him. Surprisingly, his football coaches have been the best quality human beings than any other sport he has played. These are parent volunteers, and they love the sport and they love the boys. They are tough and kind. My boy is learning how to be tough and kind.

To the boys, the coaches, the dads, the moms, and the Dawgs! Football may be a man’s world, but it’s also a mom’s world. May we ALL have clear eyes…full hearts…can’t lose!

Take care of yourselves and each other,