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  • I was against it from the very beginning. I've never liked the sport, even loathed it. So base. So violent.
    Until, that is, my son wanted to play it.
    He took me at my word, saying "Mom! You always say to try new things. This is new and I wanna try it."
    What I meant was the opera, or woodworking. Or a nice, safe musical instrument.
    Not football.
    The problem is he tried it and he loved it.

    This morning was the second to last game of the season. All the parents were on their feet with the first touchdown against an undefeated team. My son's team came out strong, but the scoreboard read a big loss in the end.This opposing team looked like giants compared to my son and his team mates. Standing half a head taller, each of those boys had a good 5-10 pounds on our boys. That's a big deal when you are ten.

    After that first touchdown, it was a pummeling. I winced with ever tackle. My mind went back to the medical release form. The concussion discussions. The boys started coming off the field, one after another, crying. I wanted to take my son out of the game and leave.

    The whistle finally blew, the refs picked up the football, and the game was over. The boys walked to the final huddle. I hovered around, behind the boys sitting on one knee in a circle in front of their head coach. I wanted to hear what the he had to say.

    "Boys. You tried hard today. You lost. Doesn't mean you have to like it. Nobody likes losing."
    He stopped. The evidence of emotion was on his face as his voice cracked.
    "I believe in you. All your coaches believe in you. Tomorrow is a new day. You played a hard team. You earned your positions. Don't get down on each other or on yourselves. We believe in you. See you Monday for practice."

    Each of the boys put their right hand in the center of the circle.
    The coach said "'No Regrets on Three.'"
    In unison the entire team shouted "1,2,3, NO REGRETS!" and threw their hands up to the sun hovering above.
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