Football is one of America’s greatest pastimes and has always been a part of my life. I’ve always been drawn to the sport due to its violent nature and intensity but wasn’t always able to play it.
During elementary and intermediate school my parents wouldn’t allow me to play football because it was too dangerous. It didn’t matter how I begged or pleaded to go play pee wee football with the rest of my friends the answer was always something like “it’ll stunt your growth” or simply “you’re to young”. So my first sport became European football.
Until I was 13 I played division 1 classic league soccer (the highest level of club soccer), but even with the high level of competition and fun I was never completely in love with the sport. I wouldn’t ever watch it on TV or play it at recess. Football was always my game of choice.
Middle school was the first time I actually got to strap up and play the game. The sport came very easily to me because in a way I’d been playing it my whole life with pickup games and throwing the ball with my dad on a regular basis. Before my first season I’d always planned to return to soccer, but after my first game I had so much fun I had no desire to play European football anymore.
High school football was one of the best experiences of my life. High school football in Texas is a much bigger deal than in other parts of the country. On a regular game night our home stadium could’ve been filled up from 5 to 10 thousand people. On homecoming night or for a big rivalry game the stands could’ve been filled with 8 to 12 thousand people. I’m not describing this to brag, but to describe the atmosphere of those friday nights where football became more than just a game.
I’ve made countless friends through football and it’s pretty easy to be heard of when your name is being announced on a loud speaker in front of the whole school. Football gave me a place to belong socially and also helped me develop personal confidence. Without the sport I wouldn’t be the same person I am today and despite all the recent negative publicity about the dangers of the sport I hope I have sons that play someday. Would you let your kids play?