It's been a great season!
We just returned from Sam's first round playoff game, which his team decisively won. Joey's team had a bye for the first round of playoffs because of their regular season ranking, so that was nice. What this all means is that now both boys advance to round 2 of playoffs. If either or both win next Saturday, they will go on the the Superbowl. We've got our fingers crossed!
Sam, after playing most of the season on defense only, was put on offense today as well with good results. The kid is not afraid of hitting and comes off the line like a heat-seeking missile. It is really fun to watch. He has turned in some nice sacks this season, which always gets me on my feet in the stands.
Joey is now playing tight end and wide receiver on offense, and defensive end and tackle on defense. He has had a really good year in these positions and made his first touchdown--an impressive jump for the pass followed by a 30 or 40 yard run--a few games ago. He has been a solid pass catcher since.
It seems a funny thing to say, but I am so grateful for football and the character that it is helping instill in my boys. When Joey first played two years ago he was a third string player. He could not finish his lap without walking and he begged to quit that first week of conditioning hell. Three years later he is a leader on his team, playing almost every snap, and is someone his team needs to win. A few weeks ago I watched him at practice as he went back, after finishing his run, to help along a teammate who was struggling. Not long ago that struggling kid was Joey, and it is through three years of consistent hard work that he has changed his situation.
From football my boys are learning how to be part of a team, how to be counted on and, best of all, how working hard at something over time can bear great fruit. They are learning how to win, how to lose and how to help lift up another person for the greater good of the team. They are learning how to receive praise when they've earned it and honest criticism when they require it.
If I could have known that first week of football three seasons ago how much I would come to appreciate this sport that, at the time, I thought was going to break my firstborn, I wouldn't have believed it.