When he’s 6-1 and 300 pounds. However……unfortunately, he really IS on a 12 and under pee wee football team. On our opponents’ team. Yesterday.
Standing an entire foot taller than any of the other kids was a 12-year-old boy with the body of a man. No one could believe he was only twelve. And aren’t there weight limits? There is a reason for the names PEE WEE and LITTLE LEAGUE.
I wanted to learn more about weight requirements for pee wee football, so I did some research this morning.
I think the boy we played must be the same boy who was banned from the Mesquite, Texas league in August of this year for being almost 165 pounds over the weight limit. His coach and mother protested for him, because he cried over the decision; football has been his dream, and he is still just a 12-year-old boy.
Apparently, some leagues have limits and some don’t. And some leagues just require that the extra-large player put an X on his helmet, to indicate he is only eligible to play certain positions. (The X is definitely not for the players’ notice; believe me, they didn’t need any extra help in noticing this boy. One of our players facing him even called a “time out” himself!- forget waiting on the coaches! )
Although admittedly my child is on the smaller side, this boy weighs almost 4 times what he does, and at least 3-4 times more than most of the other boys on our team.
We had three injuries yesterday; our kids were absolutely getting run over by this boy – what were they supposed to do with him? I think our kids were very courageous; this big boy was scary. (He was bigger than our coaches, and we have an ex pro player and a current pro player as coaches!!).
I get the fact that this boy’s dream is to play football, and that his mother supports his goal. I want to help my child fulfill his dreams as well. But I also want to keep him in one piece. To protect him from getting a broken neck or back from being crunched by a 300-pound 12-year-old! I get the dream fulfillment thing, but come on guys – SAFETY HAS TO COME FIRST!
I’m sure some people who support the “no weight limit” contend that football is a dangerous sport – live with it. But I would say to them that my boy knows football is dangerous, and accepts that fact. He tries his hardest to be brave and suffer through the tackles and stompings. It’s a given in football – as long as the players are all on a relatively equal footing.But 300 pounds??? Seriously??
The boy banned in August says he’s not ready to play older kids – he’s still inexperienced in football, and needs to get experience and improve his skill by playing with kids his age. But how much skill and experience do you need when you’re a 300 pound player tackling 75 pound boys? You just have to fall on them and that pretty much does the trick – not much skill needed there. And you don’t have to worry too much about getting tackled – it would be like your opponent running into a brick wall.
And what about the 300 pound player? I know he wants to play, but won’t injuring one opponent after another after another cause him to feel some guilt? What if he seriously injures someone? As his mother said, he’s only 12, with the feelings of a 12-year-old. Well, I have to say that my 11-year-old would be distraught if he permanently injured another kid, not to mention causing less serious injuries over and over and over. (A skilled tackle on our team almost quit football because he is so good at tackling opponents, but was upset when they got hurt.) I would think that after a while, this mammoth 12-year-old will have to deal with some self-esteem issues.
Once again, a pee wee football safety conundrum. What’s the answer? What do you think?
K. L. loves noisy clocks, fuzzy blankets, anything pink, and all things Santa Claus. And she HATES the word normal. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Inc., the Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association, and National Book Critics' Circle. Please visit her at www.klromo.com, @klromo on Twitter, or k.l.romo on Instagram.
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