Standing on the sidelines

This time of year, it’s hard to turn around without bumping into a college football bowl game. That’s fine by me. I love football. As I’ve told some friends, if they ever start broadcasting Russian peewee football, I’ll probably watch part of it.

So it was a lot of fun a few weeks ago when I was able to take my son to a junior high football game, and we were able to watch from the sidelines.

I have covered Nashville schools in either the newspaper or radio for a number of years. And over that time, I’ve developed friendships with most of the coaches.

My son loved watching a game from the sidelines - then having the whole field to himself.

My son loved watching a game from the sidelines – then having the whole field to himself.

We live about an hour from Nashville. This year Nashville was set to play El Dorado, a team that’s about an hour from us in the opposite direction.

So the two teams were going to meet here where we live. A neutral site for the game, and one that was basically in our back yard.

Actually, the two teams met here last year, too, and I went by myself that night. It was one of my favorite experiences of going to a game. I like junior high football – it’s usually a smaller crowd, and the speed of the game is a little slower, so it’s interesting to watch the plays develop.

Plus, it always seems like the players are just in it for the best reason of all – just for the fun of the game.

So I thought this year, I would take my son with me, and it would be his first chance to watch a game from the sidelines.

If I had taken him to the Super Bowl he wouldn’t have been any more excited. He literally was bouncing up and down throughout the game.

He cheered like he was a member of the team when Nashville scored. And because there are so many fewer people on the sidelines for a junior high game, we were able to kind of wander up and down the field and watch from wherever we wanted. His favorite place was to stand right on the goal line and watch a player plunge into the endzone from the 2-yard line.

After the game, my son enjoyed having the field to himself, running up and down the field, seeing how fast he could run the 100 yards, and always scoring at the end of his run.

We both had a great time. Sure, it was just a junior high football game. But it was just doing something together that was fun. Spending time together.

And that’s something that we often forget as parents. Sometimes we get so caught up in doing something REALLY BIG, that we forget that almost everything is really big to our kids.

And so often the big thing isn’t the event. Instead, it’s sharing the time and experience together.

Neither one of us remembers the score from the game on that cool Thursday night. But it will be an experience we’ll both remember for years to come.

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