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In Defense of Football Moms

god and football mom

I proudly belong to a special group of women. I am a football mom.

I love football. I’ve loved it probably since I was in the womb, going to UGA games. I grew up attending those games every Saturday for as long as I can remember. My entire extended family loves football. My husband loves football. We are Football. People.

When I gave birth to a son 16 years ago, it was inevitable that he would also love football. And he does. He loves it so much that he will literally watch ANY team in ANY game. Shaking my head, I’ve witnessed it many times but realize that he gets it honestly. It’s in his blood.

He’s also a big kid. He comes from big men who also played football. When he was younger and played rec football, he had to have an “X” taped on his helmet to signify that he was over a certain weight and could not carry the football. Yes, you read that right. That’s how our rec dept handled the little kid/big kid thing. I understood that the little kids didn’t want to get hurt, and I didn’t want my big kid to hurt them. But it also felt wrong and felt like my kid had a scarlet A on his helmet, and felt like an offshoot of the odd participation trophy phenomena. I wanted to complain but he didn’t want me to, and it would have only made me look like I didn’t care about the smaller kids. And honestly, if my kid had been little, I’m sure I would have wholeheartedly supported the rule.

We tried to reassure him that someday, his size would pay off in football. “Someday, son, you will play high school ball, and you will be rewarded handsomely for your big-ness.” Now, as a starting offensive lineman, he is finally reaping the rewards of the big, strong body that God gave him.

Being on a football team has given him a tight-knit group of friends and supportive teammates. It has given him discipline. It has given him confidence, toughness, and physical and mental strength. It has given him respect for authority. It has given him the opportunity to be around kids with different backgrounds than his. It has given him a work ethic.

It’s also given him a broken hand, constant soreness, ugly bruises everywhere, struggles with asthma, back strains, cuts and scrapes that keep getting re-cut and re-scraped…the list goes on and on. The news reports continuous research about concussions and long-term brain injuries for football players. It’s hard to see and hear. It makes me worry over our decision to allow him to play football.

As a football mom, I worry every day, every practice, every game. I’m always glad to get his text that he’s on his way home. Other non-football moms say, “don’t you worry about him playing football?” Or “I won’t let my son play football.” Absolutely, I worry. The night before every game, I pray for him, for his teammates, and his opponents to stay safe from injury and harm.

I wonder what the future of football is. That’s not for me to decide. But in defense of football and football moms (and dads), hashtag it’s complicated.

I love to watch him play a game that he loves. He’s good at it. He’s physically suited for it. It’s good for him.

I love to watch the game. I’m proud of him and his team.

So please know that I know that it’s dangerous. It’s also building great men. It’s the agony of defeat. It’s the thrill of victory. It’s yin and yang. It’s light and dark. It’s complicated.

For now, I’ll keep on keeping on with our Friday Night Lights and being grateful for the many gifts football has given my son. And I’m eternally grateful for being a football mom.

football mom

Breathe

Well, hello, Blogtown! Blogville! Blog City, U.S.A.!

I’ve taken a much needed break from Yellow Daisy Chick Chat, and I’ll pretend you noticed. I’ll also pretend you have missed me as much as I’ve missed you!

After finishing school in the spring, I was burnt to a crisp. I needed to get out of my head and into the Real World for a while. It was a fun, busy summer, and now I can’t believe it’s after Labor Day. With the change of seasons approaching, I thought it was a good time to get back to chickchatting.

This weekend has been much needed, after a crazy few weeks. August began with school back in session for the kids, with a frustrating asthmatic episode for my football-playing son the first week. Two weeks later (with an urgent care visit, specialist appointment, a new action plan,) we have made a small bit of progress. Such is the story with asthma, as we’ve experienced. He is better, but mainly because Mother Nature has blessed us with milder temperatures. More medicine tinkering ahead…

The next week, I got a job. It found me. Two weeks later, I quit said job. I did not enjoy the job. Among other things, it was not as part-time as advertised. disappointment and stress ensued, but it all ended up the way it was supposed to. Fortunately, a family beach weekend was planned for Labor Day weekend, which was wonderful but very busy, with 2 of us heading to a football game and 2 of us heading to the beach, all to meet back up on Sunday at the beach. Phew.

So somehow, we’ve made it through exactly one month of school. It came in like a lion, and at this point, who knows how it will go out? This weekend, I’ve been able to slow it down and breathe, which has been nice. I have some ideas where I want to go career-wise, and it’s in these quiet moments when good thoughts and ideas come to you. I have gotten some reading in, which I have missed more than anything. And, I have cooked! When I say cooked, I mean enjoyed it. I looked through cookbooks, I looked through Pinterest, I planned our weekend food with joy. I had a tailgate supper to plan, along with a Sunday dinner and a Meatless Monday.

The grind of the busy week can drain all the joy out of cooking; it’s really just work during the week. Squeezing food in between activities can be daunting, and when I get a slow weekend, I can actually remember that I call cooking a hobby. Sure, I needed to do a million projects in my house, but I forgot to mention that our upstairs A/C went out this week, so my project budget just went to that. Sometimes, it’s nice to table those projects and just slow down and breathe.

I wanted to share my tailgate menu in hopes that I might help your busy day or weekend. We have to work together! Most of these recipes use stuff we had around the house, like leftover potatoes and salad fixings. Now that I’m an unemployed freelancer, I need to keep my menu budget-friendly! 🙂 Here’s what we ate while watching the games:

1. Buffalo Chicken Strips (Kroger chicken and homemade buffalo sauce.) This is a stand-by for us on football Saturday. We like to bake our own wings, but I’ve had trouble finding them. My son makes the wings and the sauce:

Heat on stove to simmer: 1/2 c hot sauce (we recommend Frank’s); juice from 1/2 orange; dash salt and pepper; 1 t. sugar; 2 T. butter. Slather on chicken or serve on the side. Or just take spoon and eat sauce from bowl.

photo-18

 

2. Red Potato Skins. What a great way to use up those last potatoes in the bag! Easy and delicious. Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes on 375. Cut in half, scoop out some of the tater, salt and pepper, and broil til browned. Fill with cheese and broil til melted. Top with bacon and sour cream. Pop in mouth.

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3. Greek 7-Layer Dip. A nice change from the Mexican layer dip that we all love. Healthy, too. But it doesn’t taste heathy! That’s the key. I adapted a Pinterest recipe and ended up with this:

Layer 1- hummus; Layer 2- Mix plain Greek yogurt with 2 garlic cloves, oregano, pinch of salt and pepper, squeeze of lemon and spread over hummus; Layer 3- Crumbled feta cheese; Layer 4-Diced, seeded tomatoes; Layer 5- Diced, seeded Cukes; Layer 6- Diced red onion; Layer 7: Diced/sliced olives. Enjoy with pita chips. *Note* If you need to make ahead, put veggies on top right before serving to avoid the dip being too liquid-y.

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4. Guac and chips. My husband is world-famous for his guacamole. He just has the touch. Ask anybody. No really, anybody!

Recipe: 4 avocados, chopped; juice of 2 limes; 2 T. diced red onion; 2 T. diced tomato; 1 t. Sriracha or to taste; salt; drizzle of olive oil; chopped cilantro to taste. Don’t worry about leftovers. There will be no leftovers.

photo-16

5. Salted Caramel Brownies. Oh Ina Garten, how I do love thee! And how I wish I were Jeffrey. He must eat better than anyone. The woman does not play. Thank you for being you, Ina.

Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/salted-caramel-brownies-recipe.html#!

courtesy Ina Garten/mine did not look that good but tasted awesome!
courtesy Ina Garten

I hope your weekend has been what you want it to be. If not, make next weekend be the one where you get to breathe.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

YDC

 

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