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Let me set the scene, first of all. There were just over five minutes on the clock in the last quarter of the game. Edgar’s basketball team was up by more than 10 points and tensions were running extra high as their opponents desperately tried anything to salvage the spot they had earned in the championship game this Saturday.
Fifteen minutes later and it was official. The Mustangs are going to the championship game. I was ecstatic, bursting out of my seams quite literally!
Oddly enough, by that point, walking inside the stadium of my old high school district for another equally mesmerizing experience. This time for a Super Bowl LI event hosted by the NFL at the Aldine Independent School District. I graduated from Aldine’s Eisenhower High School 20 years ago now. Wow, I just literally did the math right now!
The Play Football Family Festival took place at the M. O. Campbell Educational Center, which is home to the W. W. Thorne Stadium. If you’re not from Houston all you need to know is that it’s a huge football field with plenty of space for multiple training exercises to take place at the same time. That’s precisely what happened at the Play Football Family Festival.
Also part of day’s activities were meet-and-greets with pro-NFL players like Tony Gonzalez and Joey Bosa, football gear fittings, and a very honest and poignant conversation between parents and coaches about the decision to let their children join a football team or not. That was a conversation that hit home for a lot of us as parents because many in the room had grappled with the very same question about their own kids.
The jury is still out about that one in our home, but it was pretty insightful to hear directly from the pros about this debate. Ultimately, the consensus being that it’s a very personal decision for parents to make with their children as a family. The benefits of participating in team sports, however, are pretty crystal clear.
Our family knows.
When Edgar first joined the basketball team we weren’t sure what to expect. He hadn’t previously participated in any structured sports activities and we didn’t know how serious he was about the commitment. Two years later and one game away from a major championship, I can honestly say team sports have given him the confidence and humility to understand what it means to be a part of a team – not only on the court or in the field, but in life. Those are life lessons I can’t just tell him about.
I think the same can be said for a lot of the families that spent part of their evening with us that night. The event was about celebrating the arrival of Super Bowl LI to Houston, and, more importantly, about motivating more young people to discover their capabilities on the field.