It is fall in Western Pennsylvania and we find ourselves in the heart of football season. After years of avoiding organized sports with the older kids, we dipped our big toe into the sports pond when Tyler joined our family at age 6. We tried to fight it but even at that age he had an affinity for sports of any kind, having been actively involved in soccer and football at his previous foster home, and we soon realized that for all of our survival that kid needed an energy outlet!
After a few months in our home we gave into the inevitable and signed him up for soccer, followed by football in the fall. It was a definite social shock stepping into the world of little league sports and all that comes with it.
The benefit of such an uncomfortable social shift, however, was a very tired little boy at the end of the day…a benefit that far outweighed the less appealing aspects of organized youth sports.
It was because of our naivety and lack of experience that we found ourselves at Blackhawk Lil’ Cougars football sign-ups that first year. We saw the signs around town advertising football sign-ups and so we arrived with required papers in hand (birth certificate, report card and proof of address) on the night advertised. He was registered and began playing, making quick friends with the other little brutes on his team. There was something endearing about watching 20 wild 6-year-old’s navigate the field as they learned the sport.
It wasn’t until we were fully entrenched in the world of the Cougars that we found out that we should have signed Tyler up under Beaver Fall’s league since we technically live in Beaver Falls school district. By the time we realized our mistake Tyler was firmly settled into this group of boys and we chose to request an exemption rather than move him. He has been playing with the Cougars ever since and loves his teammates and coaches.
That was all well and good and then Tyler’s biological brother, Brandon, moved into our home. He, too, has both a love and affinity for sports and since he is currently required by the judge to attend our local public school it made it easy to simply sign him up for the high school football team.
After a few years of not being able to live a “normal” teenager’s life, he is thrilled to be navigating halls between classes and donning football gear every day after school. Like Tyler, he has a natural gift for athletics and is loving being part of a team.
So now we have two boys on the field each week, but they wear the colors of two different schools…
Two rival schools.
Which had made life a bit crazier than usual.
Everyday Brandon has football practice immediately following school until 5:30 pm. We pick him up and then head to Tyler’s field for his daily practice from 6:00-8:00 pm.
Friday nights are spent under the lights as we dress in our orange and black to watch Brandon play.
Then on Saturdays we put on our green and gold to cheer on Tyler.
Some of these games are pleasant but others are miserable…
This one was particularly nasty as we battled high winds and heavy rains. We definitely earned some parenting points for our participation!
For the most part we have been able to navigate this arrangement, but Friday presented its own unique challenge when both boys were committed to be on two different fields for Friday night’s game.
Brandon’s game was a home game on Geneva College’s field but Tyler was also invited to be on the field Friday night as part of Blackhawk’s community days. The high school invited all the little players and cheerleaders to the game to support the high school team. The boys were invited to sit along the sidelines and then step onto the field as the big boys entered the stadium, cheering them on.
Tyler didn’t want to miss this special event so we began our night with the Blackhawk Cougars and then at halftime drove across town to watch the second half of the game at Beaver Falls to cheer on the Tigers.
It has been fun watching Tyler and Brandon bond over football. And we are all thrilled to have someone living in the house who readily volunteers to toss the ball with Tyler, giving the rest of our throwing arms a break!
Tonight we go and watch another brother in uniform.
Sean, Tyler and Brandon’s middle biological brother, is playing for his school and both my boys are excited to go and watch one of his games and reconnect with a brother they haven’t seen in a few years.
It is definitely football season in Western PA!