Katy, Texas Football Farm Leagues: Spring Gridiron League Game 1

Friday Night Lights has nothing on Katy, TX.

You know our high school has had the number one team in the state a bazillion times (ok, six, but that’s still a lot), right?  Well, I’m about to explain to you why…

In baseball, you have college ball and then the farm leagues:  double-A, triple-A, then The Show, as Nuke LaLoosh found out in Bull Durham.  Football ostensibly has no such path to success.  It’s pretty much high school then college and then recruitment to the NFL if you’re good enough.  If you’re not good enough for the pros, you’re just done after college.

To make up for that lack of a farm system and to ensure that Texas will always have more people in the NFL from this state than any other by a factor of three, what the Katy community does is stalk the delivery floors of local hospitals and any male child over 8 lbs is recruited for a high school team on the spot.  Kidding.  Only not really.  If I had a nickel for every time I rolled my eyes at how into this sport people are, and for every time someone would stop me at Kroger and tell me my boys were destined to be linebackers given their size at fifteen months of age, and for every time I subsequently commented that neither of my boys would ever play such a barbaric and injury-laden sport, I’d be assured to keep my newfound SAHM status indefinitely.  So of course you know how the story ends, right?

My boys play football.  And they are both linebackers.  Of course they are.

My older son has played for three seasons already at the ripe old age of 11.  Funnily enough, that is a ripe old age because 90% of his team when he played for the first time in the 4th grade had all been playing for at least two seasons.  There are probably toddler leagues out there I don’t know of.  While I’m happily teaching my children the alphabet and stressing over the fact that they refuse to learn their colors, these people evidently had their sons out on the field practicing the Tight End Reverse and I-Formation offense.  It’s crazy.

This Spring, my younger son got into the act for the first time.  He gets beat to death taught how to play routinely by his older brother in the side yard of our home, so he’s not unfamiliar with the sport.  He’s actually pretty big for his age and by the looks of him you’d think he’d be a real bruiser.  This is his first official season though, and I was unsure how he’d handle it.  He has sensory issues and was most unhappy with his helmet…he looked up at the salesman at Brammer’s (the place to get sporting equipment in Katy, anddontyouforgetit) and said, in all sincerity, “These helmets are not very comfortable.”  Right.  Welcome to football, son!

I have to admit to some reservations about son #2’s coach.  He was very in to it at the pre-season Parent Meeting.  All “Go buy the pants with the pads already sewn in because we’ve timed them running?  And turns out the kids are so much faster with those pants vs the ones where the pads have to be slipped into the pockets.”  Huh?  You’ve timed them?  And noticed a difference in speed?  What have I gotten myself into…

This Saturday though, I have to say my opinion turned on a dime.  This coach really is fantastic with the kids, and his wife is the Best Team Mom Ever.  Seriously.  Played a lot of sports myself, exposed the boys to lots of sports, seen a lot of Team Moms.  She rocks.  She had this little pump-pressurized squirt bottle, the kind that you use to spray pesticide on your plants if you don’t have a bug guy, and filled it with water to mist the kids down at halftime and before the game.  Seriously prepared.  She was clearly a girl scout, or has been Team Mom-ing in Katy for a good long time because she’s got the drill down, baby.

When it was all said and done, we went one and one for the weekend.  One win, one loss.  Next week is a bye for the younger son, so they’ll have a chance to assess the loss and probably sit in a room somewhere at tonight’s practice and review the tape.  (People seriously video tape nine and 10 year olds playing, folks.)

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m here.  Here meaning “at a place where I have children playing football in a state where Football is King and holy cow I have sold out and am now playing into the whole machine, aren’t I?”  Aren’t I now one of the people I scoffed at?  One of the people out under an umbrella on a scorching Saturday morning, the people that I used to laugh and laugh at as I drove by in my air-conditioned car, on the way to a leisurely late breakfast.  One of “those moms” who buys a football jersey (cut for women’s figures, of course, because they actually make such a thing…and sell it at Brammer’s) with her sons’ team name on it to wear for the games.

I am indeed.  And I now carry around a bottle of salt with which to season the words that come out of my mouth, as I will surely someday eat them.