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My son, at age 8, lifted a defensive lineman over his head and threw him

to the ground. The defender has in the three prior plays grabbed my son's jersey by the neck and yanked to the side, effectively choking him. So my son got fed up; after the throw down, the defender's first step the rest of the game was backwards.

You might think from that one experience my son was/is hyper aggressive as an athlete but he is not; I had always taught him you never start a fight, but if someone attacks you or a friend, you have my blessing to fight back.

In general, as a dad, I avoided giving my son too much advice as it's better if he is driven by his own voice and that of his coaches. He's always been a physical in sports because as an athlete, for a long time, he was shorter but stronger than most of his peers. He's still a bit short for his age (16), but while he leaned out as he grew taller, he still has a lower center of gravity than most on the soccer pitch, and as a defender, he often uses his strength and leverage to drive attackers off the ball.

At the end of the day, my son won't be a pro athlete. He's got a pro-caliber mind and poise but I am 5'8 and my wife is 5-even, so even at my height, he'd have to be world class in speed and/or strength, and while he's better than most of his peers, there will be no professional career. That is something I told him from almost day 1 -- play sports to keep in shape, make friends, enjoy competition and self-improvement and to develop character. That's what he's done. He's the first to console a teammate after a mistake, he's friendly with the same opponents whom he tries to outmuscle for the ball and he is gracious whether his team wins or loses. He has never been the most talented player on teams with teammates that include some good enough to get Division I scholarships but he has often been the kid other parents single out for being calm and focused on the field.

Only once did I tell my kid to be more aggressive; two years after he threw down the lineman, he tried out for a competitive team that was loaded and had just won the provincial championship. The first day of tryouts, he was kind of passive. So before the next practice, I said to him its fine by my whether you make this team or instead be a star again on your rec team. But if YOU want to make this team, you need to stand out, and to do that, you are going to have to kick some ass. I'm fine either way, I told him (and I meant it) but he should know what was expected so he could make the choice.

As it turned out, he wanted to make the team. During okies, he was lined up against the team's best defensive linemen, a hulking kid who laughed when my son got into his crouch. But while the other kid was nearly double my son's weight, my son was much quicker, lower to the ground and had a big burst. Three times my son knocked him on his back. Than they switched and my son carried the ball, ran over him twice, then slipped him with a quick cut.

My son made the team, was a starting outside linebacker, starting wide receiver, the kicker and on the onside recover team. Had a great year, great coaches, great teammates. After the season he asked if I would mind if he quit football to concentrate on soccer because while he had never missed a play from injury, he knew of the risk of concussion, and as he was getting older, opponents were getting (relative to him) bigger and faster. I said I'd support him in whatever he did so long as he did something. He hung up his football cleats and never looked back.

Point is, so long as your son is going generally in the right directing, my job is to help him get there but trust him to make key decisions along the way. At the end of the day, I want him to be a great man first; athletics is just one tool to get there.

[Post edited by NorthernExposure at 06/17/2019 7:43PM]

(In response to this post by 105A)

Posted: 06/17/2019 at 7:40PM


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