For me, there is something different about August nights. The weather is waffling between summer and fall, the days get a little bit shorter, and weeknights are spent on the football practice fields.
As long as I can remember, August meant football season was around the corner. My dad ran the junior football league when I was growing up, and my boys both play today. August, for us, means equipment handouts, cleats in the kitchen and showers before bed.
It means quick dinners because practice starts at 6pm.
It means that just about everything, until the end of October, is about football.
My love for football runs deep, because it's all I've ever known this time of year. Football has a way of shaping kids, of teaching them discipline and
how to work hard. These boys give up playdates, time in the pool and
time on their game consoles to be on that field. Their parents devote
many hours to driving them to practice and they plan vacations around
when their boys have to lace up those cleats.
And coaches, well they work harder than many parents will ever know, unless of course you are a coach.
Or married to one.
Football, is truly a state of mind. And I'm a firm believer that while it's one of my favorite sports, it isn't for everyone.
You need to love it, because wearing full equipment in the hot August sun is pretty darn uncomfortable. So is getting drilled in practice.
Tonight, as I sat in my folding chair alongside all the other parents, and my girls played in the fields with all the other siblings, I realized that we are back to that time of year.
And suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Each year we return to the football fields another year older.
As tough as some days might seem running to practice and hunting through the house in search of game pants, this is my time with my kids. My time to pack snacks and coolers. My time to spray them with bug spray and discuss positions and how practice went.
And it goes by very, very fast.
Happy football season to all the football parents out there, and I'm sending you all a very important reminder.
Enjoy every minute, and remember they are still kids. Winning is important, but it isn't everything. No crushing tiny spirits, just opponents. Every kid should feel proud to be on that field, because it takes a team to succeed.
Not one player.
At the end of the day, if the kid is putting in the work, that's all that matters. The rest is just the icing on the playoffs cake.