It's been said, "Good things come to those who wait." And for two boys, just 25 days away from being 10 years old, all the waiting has paid off.
Tackle football (or "real football" as they would say) has been something Jack and Charlie have wanted to do for years. Yeeeeeeaaaaarrrrrsssssssss. This summer, they met all requirements to join PAL football. This stuff is hard-core, folks. There were sign ups in May. Then came the 2+ month wait for the draft. Yes, I said draft. The coaches met Tuesday night and chose teams. The boys knew from the get-go there was a chance they may not get drafted, in which case they would be assured a spot on a team next year. You have no idea how much I hoped and prayed they would make the cut. Because, seriously? Waiting another year -- another loooooong year -- would just about put me over the edge. Why? Because whether associated with a bona fide football-playing organization, these kids will throw together a pick-up game with the boys in the neighborhood and tackle anyway. That's tackling without pads and (most importantly) helmets.
But the call came Tuesday night. Jack and Charlie are officially Raiders.
At the informational meeting/equipment pick-up last night, their coach reviewed rules and expectations for the kids. Some were returning to the PAL program; others, like Jack and Charlie, were fresh-faced and new. The coach spoke to us as you would expect a coach to speak -- loudly, forcefully and full of enthusiasm. There was no putting it lightly when he told the boys grades and schoolwork come first. And if the parents have a disciplinary problem at home and want to enforce sitting out of a practice or game, all we have to do is let him know. He highlighted the past local football players (mostly high school) who had been part of the "Raider family." Even Rod Woodson, of the Pittsburgh Steelers and new Hall-of-Famer, had been a Raider.
As predicted, about two-and-a-half minutes after leaving the meeting, the boys were already fitting pads into the football pants. When we arrived home, they were in full garb in the front yard, tackling each other all over the place.
I tried snapping a few shots of them to mark the occasion, but I got "the look." OMG. The "MOM!-Don't-embarrass-me" look. I know when to take a hint, though, and have my ways of getting what I want, too. Which led me to feel slightly stalker-ish when I snapped this shot from Sam's bedroom window upstairs:
But, seriously, when these two football-crazy boys get their full uniform? And are dressed for their first game? Yeah,... they WILL be posing for an official Mom Photo. Because I won't hesitate to remind them not only is this one of their dreams come true, but it's one of mine, too.