For the love of the game

1383969_10201100379767420_1162533139_n Hunter aka Big Ben

I have a son who LOVES  football!  I am a mom who shares the love too!  During his young life, Hunter has had 2 obsessions~ CARS (including trucks, matchbox cars, construction trucks) and Football.  When Hunter loves something, it is an all or nothing type of love just like his dad.

At the age 18 months until he was about 3 1/2, Hunter was obsessed with all things CARS.  I can’t tell you how many Lightening McQueens and Maters we have in a bin.  He would watch the movie over and over.  It was to the point that my husband and I knew every word.  The only thing he would play with were CARS and trucks.  It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, he always had one with him.  I remember his 1st plane ride to Disney World.  I was a nervous wreck.  I had no idea how I was going to keep a 2 year old content as well as a 4 year old.  I remember I got him a Lightening McQueen back pack and I filled it with “surprises” because I read that somewhere. Hunter was 2 and he when he was done, he was done.  There was no reasoning with him.  Well the entire flight (to and from) and the few days while in the hotel room, all Hunter needed and played with was~ a matchbox car and a small container of playdoh.  He didn’t even open his back pack!

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This obsession continued and he would sit for hours in the sandbox, under a tree, in the family room, on the beach, pretty much anywhere and as long as he had some trucks and CARS he was happy and content.  For his birthdays and Christmases all we needed to buy were CARS toys and more trucks.  It made our job so easy.  He would slowly add things like the Army men from Toy Story but that was the extent of his deviation from his obsession.  Until…..

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Hunter discovered football.  We watch it every Sunday.  We are Steeler Fans and this boy bleeds black and gold!  It makes me sad that my husband only got to see the beginning of the obsession of football before he passed away.  I know he would love to be here to throw the ball in the back yard and see him develop into a player.

This obsession is not a very cheap obsession.  Hunter only wears football jerseys and if it is not a jersey, it is a shirt that has some NFL Team on it.  See the obsession has gotten to the point that even though he loves his Steelers, he feels the need to have jerseys from most NFL Teams. He, also, feels the need to mimic many  victory dances. I actually think he does this to annoy me!  Hunter struggles with reading but I think he can read/recognize all the NFL Teams in the paper or in Sports Illustrated Kids.  I truly feel there needs to be more reading material for boys that focus on sports.  If there were, Hunter would be a gifted reader!  Hmmmm…..I may be on to something.

Hunter began to play his obsession when he was 5.  We have a fabulous flag football program in our area.  The program teaches the boys every position and focuses on the skills and the love of the game.  Hunter has been blessed to have amazing coaches.  He has been taught to play hard but to be a good sport.  He has already learned that it isn’t always about being the best and winning all the games.  He has learned how being a good sport is vital to the game.  He is very eager to play tackle.  But he knows my feelings on it.  It is very hard to explain to a boy who loves the game and is very passionate that he may be tough but his body isn’t as tough.

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Hunter studies the game.  You can ask him anything and 9 out of 10 times, he can tell you the answer.  He sets up a football field in the backyard and he dresses the part~ pads, uniform, and helmet. I have even sprayed painted lines on my grass for him.  He will do this for hours on end.  You get him and his buddy together and they are out there (or inside) playing the game.  If they aren’t the “players”, no worries we have numerous football fields and figures that we use to “play” the game.  Although I would like to write to the manufacturers and remind them who their target audiences are…BOYS!  They need to stop making them so flimsy especially for what we pay for them.  His birthday wish and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he will tell you that he wants to be a professional football player.  He doesn’t quite get the fact that he can’t major in football when he gets to college.  Oh and he already has a list of Big 10 Colleges that he and his buddy will try to attend.  But he is a momma’s boy and has told me that Ohio State is too far but he isn’t ruling it out.  Gee thanks!

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I try my best when it comes to his obsession.  I think I have done a few things that I deserve a pat on the back.  I watch and learn about all the football teams even though I truly just love my Steelers.  I search for all things football and, with the help of his buddy’s mom, find great toys for rewards, holidays, birthdays.   I took him and his buddy to a preseason football game~ Steelers vs Eagles.  Antonio Brown waved and posed for a picture for us!  Unfortunately I set the bar too high.  He thinks that I can get us first row seats during the season without batting an eye~think again buddy!  And my latest was just this past Christmas when I caved and purchased the ugliest jersey known to mankind….the Throwback aka “Bubblebee” Steelers Jersey!

297654_3810879066281_1881683554_n Antonio Brown~BEST moment!

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I will admit that I truly hope he continues to love this game.  I don’t want him to ever lose that love.  I want him to be tough and a leader but I want him to be a team player.  I want him to take all these skills and apply them to his every day life.  I want his dream to be a football player to come true.  And if I can add to his birthday wish, my wish would be that he becomes a professional football player and is drafted by the Steelers.  Is that asking too much?

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