Initiation’s tough on frosh football mothers

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman
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It does not come naturally or comfortably. For most moms it is an acquired taste. Over time — about three years — it will become an addiction that will ultimately lead to tears of sadness when it is over.

Watching a son introduced to the world of high school football is often a trying moment for a neophyte mother. Her son is immersed in a testosterone-driven world. It is a world where the strongest, the biggest and the most aggressive thrive.

It is a world far away from the days when the mother taught her boy to share, to use one’s manners, to not hit, to be thoughtful of others, to be kind. It is a world that most young boys dream about entering.

The first days of contact with full pads are a startling dose of reality. These young players are no longer “momma’s boys”; they are becoming football players, playing a physical sport.

Just as the boys are transitioning, so too must the mothers change. They must accept that their young man craves just the action that football offers.

Megan Buell, a Colfax mother whose son, Will, is on the freshman team is much like any mother whose son is playing freshman football for the first time.

“The first game I attended, I met an ambulance at the intersection, and I questioned my sanity as I let my son play a sport that requires an ambulance at the sporting event,” Buell said.

Will’s perspective is much different.

“Football is a sport that has a position for everyone,” he said. “I’m not one of the strongest, but I can play receiver. The stronger kids play in the line.”

Already, Will and most other freshman players see the positives in America’s favorite sport.

Over time, while the mother sees football as a physical sport and not necessarily a dangerous sport, an acceptance begins to develop. Soon the games become an important part of the family dynamics.

Tracy Critchfield also has a son on the Colfax freshman team.

“This is our first kid in the program,” she said. “Thursday and Friday nights have become our social life.”

So begins the bonding between teammates on the field and parents in the stands. Over the course of the next three years, these parents and players will share the joy of victories and the despair of a loss.

The parents will donate their time working in the snack bar, grilling hamburgers, selling programs, carpooling teammates to and from practice until the young men are old enough to drive. These parents will grow to know and deeply care for their sons’ teammates.

“It’s been fun to see team camaraderie. Kids from all different social structures are coming together,” Tracy Critchfield said.

“I’m proud of all them,” Megan Buell added. “They have come so far in such a short period of time.”

Time will pass quickly and in three short years these mothers will face a new emotion — seeing their sons’ high school career coming to an end.

For Buell, Critchfield and the mothers of all freshman football players, the start may be rocky, but the three-year ride will be well worth it.