Joey has just made it through the hardest thing he has done in his young life...the first week of practice for tackle football, otherwise known as "hell week".
I found this name to be perfectly descriptive of the 10 hours of conditioning Joey had to endure in 100 degree heat. Two hours each day, three breaks per practice for water, less than a minute per break. The boys ran. And ran. And ran. And did push ups. And ran some more. Until I actually thought some of them might keel over for good. But no one did, no one quit, and despite some very low moments, they graduated today to a future of a new kind of hell: hitting eachother with full pads. Can't wait.
As difficult as it is to watch Joey go through all of this, I know this is a wonderful thing for him. In front of my eyes, I have seen him grow up this week. I have seen him control his emotions and his discomfort better than he ever has. I have seen him push himself farther than he thought he could. Tonight I saw his new confidence, the bounce in his step that was fueled by the knowledge that he had made it through the hardest part and was now really and truly a football player. This is the first time I have seen him really go after something he wanted without changing his mind when it got harder than he thought it would be. I couldn't be prouder.
Joey is excited and ready for what is coming. He is not afraid of tackling and hitting--after all, he has had enough practice with his siblings! It will likely be too difficult for me to watch (the coach has already warned us to not freak out over the abundance of bruises coming our way), but I am so happy to see Joey in this state of enthusiasm that I am sure I will find my way through it.
I will keep you posted on the next phase. In the meantime, Go Rebels! Go Joey!