Dear Football Mom,
So, our son got caught smoking pot behind the gym at school two weeks ago. He and his buddies (not football players) have been expelled and put on probation by the juvenile court judge in our county. I have mixed emotions, from heartbreak to raging mad, at this system of so-called, justice! He is only 17 and he’s one of the stars on the football team going into state championship playoffs. Coach kicked him off the team, and now he won’t be able to play in any championship games. It’s his senior year and could be the last time he ever gets to play. We’ve pleaded with the coach until we’re blue in the face. We paid the fine, we took the punishment, he’s doing community service, but what about second chances? What can we do?
Sounds to me like not a dad-blame thing. The shoulda coulda woulda act is in play here. As his parents, what do you think y’all should have, or could have, or would have done before this behavior became the nightmare before playoffs? Maybe cracking down on your son once you saw him wiggling out of accountability. I suspect he and his merry men have done this pot smoking before. I love your comment, “… mad at the system.” What about being mad at the reason for the season failure—your son?
I’m sorry, but your son as a senior, shoulda been a leader and known better than to try such a stunt on school property—or anybody’s property as far as that goes. That is, after all, where the guilt should lie. Not at the system, not at the coach, not at the peddler who sold him the pot … And who does that leave? Your son.
As his parents, this kind of behavior starts at home with what is accepted and what is not. It’s up to parents to make that crystal clear. More importantly, set boundaries and standards, and actually model them yourselves. He had to have some gull bring drugs to school, much less using them to boot. Maybe Santa Clauses boot should meet someone’s backside.
Look, no parent wants something like this to happen, just like no one is perfect, including parents. But the bottom line here is holding your son liable, not trying to weasel out of the consequences of his actions for him.
It’s a tough world out there. This could be a lesson for your entire family and save this young man’s life in the future. Better to learn that there are aftereffects to stupid choices now than being called to a morgue to identify your son’s body—due to an accident getting high off weed and swerving head on into a telephone pole. Parents are called every day to do such a horrid thing. Very sad, especially because it could be avoided.
By the way, he’s got a second chance. A second chance at turning this situation into something positive. He could volunteer at a homeless shelter next summer or on Saturdays. He’d soon find out how drugs affected many in this population and whether he’d like to follow in their footsteps.
I hope he humbles himself and admits the wrong of his actions. I hope he supports his team. I hope he attends every game between now and any playoffs. I hope his parents lead him to make good choices. How y’all handle this moving forward will speak volumes to his success in life.
Dear Football Mom,
I’m writing you from my son’s hospital room. Last Saturday while playing in the game, he suffered a concussion, broken arm, and dislocated shoulder in a weird tackle. He underwent surgery Monday to repair the broken arm, and shoulder. Now they found his rotator cuff compromised by a tear as well. One of his knees has a contusion. He is recovering nicely and expected to be 100 percent by spring. He is only a sophomore in college and was red-shirted. This was his first year playing. His biggest disappointment is not being able to play the rest of the season because his team is headed to win their conference championship.
How do I encourage him to continue football when I hated the game to begin with? I’ve never been a fan of football. Of course, my husband on the other hand … let’s just say he thrives on it. Now, it’s all I can do to muster the energy to hold my tongue when all I want to do is scream bloody murder at my husband. I want my son to continue college without playing football. We are a divided household, what is your best advice?
My heart goes out to you and your family, and I can only say I understand more than you may imagine. But know this—he is so blessed to have a mom by his bedside and a dad who is involved in his life.
My own son broke his leg in a game some years back. Surgery was scheduled immediately to insert a titanium rod to increase healing time. During his recovery in the hospital I found there were a few other players admitted for various reasons on the same floor. I went to visit them and found no parent or family member anywhere. And not only that … their hospital rooms were hollow. Not one balloon, card, goody bag, or anything else to cheer them up. I went directly back to my son’s room and looked around. There was such an outpouring of love lavished on this Buddy-Row it was downright embarrassing. He even had professors come to see him. Now, I will tell you the truth, my boy was not a book student. Not ever. Yet there they were, one after another visiting that guy and bringing goody bags. Whatever impression he made on them, it didn’t reflect on his grades!
I gathered-up a few balloon bouquets, goody bags, and anything else I thought the fellas down the hall might like and took it to those players who had nothing. You see, your son is blessed to have parents who give a hoot, even if you are hooting two different horns.
It’s too early to squabble over any choice your family may make—play ball, not play ball. Just get him well. Stay on top of doctor appointments. Make sure he takes his meds and eats well to get healthy. Keep the trainer’s phone number handy, and double check to make sure he has yours at the touch of a button. Load the dorm fridge with fruits and veggies that are easy to snack on.
My best advice right now is to present a united front. When it comes down to it, I hate to tell you, Mom, it really will be his choice to play or not.