One Second

A four hour drive north brought us to Camden, New York last weekend and only three games away from playing in Pop Warner’s Super Bowl at Disney’s ESPN Sports Arena during the first week of December. The Hudson Valley Knights Midgets’ team had won their division and up until this game, were undefeated.

Excited would be an understatement.

Ready.   Down.   Set.   Hut!

Sometime not long into the first half of the game, the ball was snapped and handed off from the quarterback to my 14-year old halfback.

Three seconds later my heart was lodged in my throat.

Two seconds before the throat lodging, a massive tank wearing the other team’s jersey lunged toward my son. The crowd literally gasped. My jaw dropped and the pupils in my eyes dilated as I watched in horror and failed to breathe. It was in that second, that one second at the point of contact, that I thought to myself:

 Oh, God, this is why so many parents don’t let their kids play football.

In moments such as this, for one split second, all of the decisions you’ve made as a parent become clouded in doubt. Fear rears its manipulative head and begins to churn in yours immediately eating away at your confidence. And it was in that particular moment I prayed without realizing I was praying that the equipment my precious boy was wearing was all that it was supposed to be: SAFE.

In that one second I remembered that I never checked his helmet to make sure it had the sticker showing that it meets the standards of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.

I meant to.

For it was in the moment that my heart lodged itself in my throat, that the giant from the other team had swooped down, seized my son’s thighs and in one-continuous-effortless-gliding-motion did his due diligence. Nearly as graceful as a male ballet dancer lifts a ballerina above his head, the opposing ogre raised 165 lbs. of my boy, gear and all, and seamlessly flipped him over his head causing him to land CRACK—SMACK, down on his back!

Only when he popped up like a spring from a board a few seconds later, did I begin to breathe again. Oh, I could tell my boy was a little shaken but he survived the throw-back and bounced back into the game almost as seamlessly as he was flipped over the other boy’s head. Luckily, Pop Warner’s equipment safety meets the highest standards.

Even though Pop Warner has clearly defined weight and age guidelines, before the second half of the game began, it was clear the other team had a physical advantage over our boys. Even the coach remarked that although it’s not unusual to come across one or two opposing players who are physically dominant on the field, our boys faced twenty and we lost to Chili (pronounced cheyeleye) which took us out of the championship. Naturally our boys walked away disappointed.

Me, I kept thinking about that moment, that one second in the game that caused my heart to lodge itself in my throat and I, walked away grateful.

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  1. November 18, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Oh goodness – how terrifying. And exactly why I don’t let my son play ice hockey.. that and the fact he wants to keep his teeth, as he says himself.

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  2. November 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

    They could just as easily fall from a tree. Hard decisions to make. All we can do is make sure they are as safe in what they do as they can be. Thanks, Lady!

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  3. jen
    November 18, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I’m so glad I saw him at basketball practice on Friday and knew he was okay before I read the whole post!

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  4. November 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Awe…. thanks Jen!

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  5. Anonymous
    November 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Noah was a very lucky boy to have escaped an injury, God and his Angel Guardian were watching out for him.

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    • November 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Yes, Anonymous he lucky & loved.

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  6. November 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    That may have been heart stopping but he lived to talk about it. And he will be a big focus of attention when they discuss that ‘hit’ at school all week. I think getting hurt a bit in sports is all part of the lessons we learn from them. Its still far safer then him hanging with the kids on the corner after dark. Be proud you raised a smart tough kid!

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  7. November 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I agree with you on all accounts Andy and yes, I am very proud. Thanks for reading & commenting!

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  8. November 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Oh, geez, Karen. I was gasping along with you. I’m so grateful Noah is okay. You are right though…we need to let our kids (to a degree) do the things they love even if there may be scary consequences. Every time Maycee gets up on our horse (who is at least 15 1/2-16 hands tall if not taller) a part of me runs through what could happen if she falls off (again) and questions if it is worth it. But the joy she feels when she trots like a “big kid” and makes it through yet another lesson unscathed, and all that she is learning within the process, gives me the answer. Sorry to hear they lost, but Noah is a winner to me no matter what! XOXO-Kasey

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