This year marks my fifth year as a football mom. My son started off playing peewee football in the 5th/6th grade, moved up to junior high football in the 7th/8th grade, and this year is on the freshman football team. I've picked up a few pointers over the years that every football parent should know.
1. The inside of your vehicle is going to get wet and dirty! These boys are going to be practicing/playing rain or shine. If they are practicing on a grass field, it's almost guaranteed that your vehicle is going to get dirty and/or muddy. And if these boys have been practicing/playing in the rain, keep in mind that they're going to be wet from head to toe also so your vehicle seats are going to get wet as well. Same thing with sweat. And if they are practicing/playing on turf, they might track pieces of the turf in their cleats. Luckily my son has moved up and is now practicing at the high school stadium, which is turf, and he has a locker in the locker room so I no longer have to deal with mud or a lot of turf.
Tip: It's a good idea to keep some old blankets or towels in your vehicle to cover up the spot where your football player will be sitting and keeping their feet. This will save you many trips to the car wash to use the vacuum.
2. You'll be doing a lot of laundry! My son has football practice 4-5 days a week and a game and if I don't wash his uniforms regularly, they become stinky fast. It's also a good idea to spray down their uniform with a fabric refresher spray.
Tip: Since it can be a pain taking the pads in and out of his pants for every wash, a girdle is a wonderful investment because the pads are built right in.
3. You'll be traveling a lot! Like I said, your football player will have a lot of practices and games and you'll be traveling back and forth to drop them off. Football players will generally be taking a bus with the team to away games but you'll definitely want to follow along to watch your football player in action.
Tip: Check and see if other parents are interested in carpooling. You could take your football player and a few friends to practice one week and another parent could do it the next week.
4. You'll be spending a lot of money! Your football player is going to need equipment. In my son's case, some things are provided such as his jersey, pants, pads, and helmet but other things cost extra like his cleats, socks, girdle, gloves, etc. In addition, you'll be using extra gas to drive back and forth. You'll also have to pay admission to watch the games (in most cases). I wish parents got in free but unfortunately they don't. And also you might want a shirt for yourself that shows how proud you are of your football player. I love football mom shirts and jewelry. My son works hard out on the field and I'm so proud of him. Also, just like with most school sports, there will be team and individual pictures involved that you can order. And with all those hard practices and games will come a big appetite so your football player will be eating more and bigger meals. There also may be fees for other things along the way.
Tip: Shop wise. I like to shop online at places like Eastbay.com because they offer the best deals on equipment and their stuff is good quality. You can also join Ebates so when you shop online you'll get cash back. And instead of buying snacks and drinks at the concession stand, bring your own.
5. You'll need a lot of encouraging words and speeches! Your football player may not get as much playing time as they want or deserve and their team may not win every game so there may be some hurt feelings throughout the season. As a parent, it's your job to teach them how to lose with dignity.
Tip: Sometimes it's better not to say anything at all. If you know your child, you'll definitely know when that's the case.
6. You'll be doing a lot behind the scenes! As a parent you may be asked to do a lot behind the scenes. When my son was in peewee and junior high football, I wasn't really expected to do a lot but as soon as he hit the high school level that all changed. In my case, the parents (especially the moms) do a lot behind the scenes that most people probably don't even know about. In my case, the football moms make signs, pompoms, and milk jugs filled with corn for cheering. We also hang and distribute the signs and pompoms around town and we distribute and collect the milk jugs before and after every game. We also fill up balloons, make treat bags, and organize and help at events. The is so much more that parents do behind the scenes to make for a successful season and we have to be as dedicated off the field as our children are on the field.
Tip: It will definitely be overwhelming but just remember to have fun because it will all be over before you know it.