Guest Post: Two steps forward-one step back

Readers, please welcome Gretchen Rose to the Trophy Mom blog. She’s a football mom and will be sharing some of her experiences from time to time. Here’s her first post, just in time for the National Championship game. Give her a big Trophy Mom welcome.

Two steps forward – one step back.

I know that you have seen the car commercials starring Matthew McConaughey. You know the ones – where McConaughey drives around and has a philosophical conversation with us over random topics? The hypnotizing Texas Drawl (God Bless Texas) draws you in to listen to his transcendental talk. Yep, I thought it was Mumbo-Jumbo, too, until I realized he was actually talking to ME!

“Sometimes you have to go back, to actually go forward.”
I actually understood these prophetic words somewhere between Football Bowl Game 15 and 18 during the Holiday Break. (We watched almost all 32 of them by the way). McConaughey made me realize the complexities of my fall season as a Football Mom.  I just thought I was cheering and volunteering for the teams and sport that I love. Maybe it turns out there was more to the project than I knew!

From August through November, I was absorbed in another football season – 9th grade to be exact. Attending the actual game is the reward for the week of erratic after school practice times, extra laundry, even extra amounts of groceries, and doctoring aches and pains.  I also spent another season holding my breath on my son’s back and possible concussions.  All was good and it was another fabulous season. With extra time on my hands, with daughter in college, I found a volunteer position with a local Pee Wee football league.

“You do not go back to chase ghosts or to reminisce.”
The new season always brought out the best in everyone in the younger league.  The youngest players, along with their parents, were just learning about the game of football and the basics. How does a helmet fit? How do the shoulder pads work? Do you need cleats or running shoes? The swarthy 12 year old (6th graders) and their parents were beginning to check out the competition on the other teams as they would all soon be together at the junior high level next year. Yep. I have done all of that, too. I had forgotten how many injuries sustained by the younger guys are hands and fingers stepped on by cleats. Seeing these mini athletes, although younger than my son, play still brought joy to my heart and made me excited to go to the field on Saturday morning.  I remembered everything good and promising and even comical when my son was at this level.

Meanwhile, back at the 9th grade games, I noticed that parents and athletes were doing similar activities to our younger counter parts.  As the freshman season grew to a close, many turned their sights to the more elite levels of high school sports on the horizon. How would we compare? Could we compete? Next year our core team would be divided. There are two levels of Junior Varsity and some might be ready for Varsity and the full Friday Night Lights routine. My child outgrew his cleats twice in the season. He still lost jerseys in the locker room and still questioned referee calls. Are we/he ready to move forward? Even seasoned seven-year veterans as parents and players, we are still learning lessons on good sportsmanship and sometimes just turning a blind eye or ear to criticism.  I could see that 2nd grade or 9th grade, Victories were celebrated and Losses were mourned.

“Where have you been and how did you get here?”
As I became familiar with my adopted team, I helped on the sidelines as an honorary water girl, and ice pack provider. I could take off an 11 year old’s helmet or shoe slower than a few years ago, but I could get the job done.  I worried about the youngest that suffered from asthma, like my daughter did for many years. I still looked for woozy kids out of the corner of my eye after a big hit.  I became bold and talked to parents about my secret weapon against de-hydration – Pedialyte. Moms and dads started asking me question as the weeks went on regarding pre game meals, favorite helmets, when cleats get too small and of course the age old debate – OxyClean vs. Tide for grass stains. I answered every question that I could. If I did not know the answer, I took it to a panel of my 9th grade mom peers for consensus.  Our son started playing football back in 3rd grade.  Back then I did not know the answer to the questions these parents asked. Many years and many mistakes make for a great teacher.  No need to tell the ghost stories to the young folk. So, how did my family manage to get to the top of the heap of junior high school football? Slowly, very slowly and with the help of many along the way!

“Some say you can never go back. I say yes you can! You just need to know where to look.”
Yes, I feel I did go way back, to the beginning of football this season.  I feel solid in my knowledge of hydration, uniforms, injury prevention and the rules of being a good fan. I hope I am a better all around football mom, too from my journey. Remember, I was THAT mom out on the field for my son’s first injury  when he was 8 years old. Now, I know with great Athletic Trainers on the field, he does not need me there anymore. (Just wait until he gets home). So, as we complete another awesome season of football and head off to the great un-known of the High School Gridiron, I can answer Mr. McConaughey’s question. Where did I look, when I wanted to go back? Easy! My local park. Thank goodness McConaughey is a Texas boy. He can come and find me and bring me home in an awesome new car  with fine Corinthian leather!

Gretchen Rose


Gretchen Rose is a wife and mom from Dallas, Texas. She loves all sports – especially watching her kids. Football is her passion. When not on the football field, Gretchen can be found running in the neighborhood with her dog. Follow her on Twitter @kidzmat and on Instagram at Gretchyrose01.

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