Fall usually means football around here, and indeed we got back not too long ago from Luke's football game. He's playing for the 130 lb. team for a neighboring town that plays teams from all over the county. He actually weighed in at 114 back in August, and he was supposed to be on the 115 lb. team--but that team didn't actually have enough players, so the team folded, and Luke moved up. He was not particularly thrilled with that state of events, but at least he didn't have to be the quarterback, a position he played the past 2 years but did not like because of all the pressure.
His team won their first 3 games handily, even though they only have about 14 players on the roster, but the game today was just weird. For starters, Luke's team only had 11 players, because 3 were injured. Second, the refs were really terrible! The league has instituted all sorts of rules to prevent concussions and injuries, like not leading with your head when tackling (supposed to be called for a penalty), but these guys just didn't call anything other than offsides! One time Luke was in a pile-up, and people started getting up after the whistle, but then another guy came out of nowhere and landed on Luke--definitely a late hit. Very dirty playing by the other team all through the game with their tackling. At halftime it became obvious that our quarterback had sustained a concussion (he was very woozy and out of it), and one running back was injured as well. So Luke had to step in as backup quarterback for a team with 9 players, down 18-6. A few plays later, he handed off the ball, stood off to the side--and then got slammed to the ground from his blind side! It really knocked the wind out of him, and he laid there for a few minutes, which was scary for us. But he got back up, pulled himself together, and they managed to score one more time, which is pretty awesome for being down 2 guys and not having the refs on your side! I don't know how next week's game is going to go. One running back is already out with a concussion (this is the second game he has missed), and now another is injured . . . Even this team doesn't have enough players! Luke is hurting pretty bad right now. He also has what we think is a deep muscle bruise in his calf, and he's still not feeling that good from the heat this afternoon.
Nathan has had a weird experience this fall season as well. He is too big for this league for football, so we signed him up for a local homeschool team. They were not incredibly responsive to emails, and their website wasn't really updated, but we knew people whose boys had played on this team, so we weren't really concerned. We went to a kickoff thing the end of July, and to our surprise, only about 5 guys were there--and 3 of them had graduated last year and were just there to talk about last season! That was concerning, but the coach and his wife were really nice, and they assured us that there were 24 people signed up for the team. So we brought Nathan to practices when they started--and alarmingly, he and only 1 or 2 other guys were showing up. Ummm . . . what is going on?! The coach kept making noises about "other guys coming later on . . they live far away . . ." and other weird things. I told Nathan this was not looking good, and we better start looking into something else.
There is a homeschool cross-country team that Isaac and Caleb McC run for, so I emailed that coach to see if Nathan could join. She was happy to have another high school boy for their team, but Nathan didn't want to commit until he knew there wasn't going to be a football team. But really--how could there have been?! You can't go from 3 guys (2 of whom are in terrible shape) to a team running plays efficiently and playing an entire game in like 1 week or something! I asked the coach about that, and he said well, they weren't going to start games until 2 weeks into September or so, and the teams weren't really anything to worry about . . . not like the teams they played last year (who were, it seems, actual real teams, unlike whatever sandlot groups he was going to compete against this year). It was so totally bizarre. We kept telling the coach Nathan didn't actually HAVE to play football. He just needed a sport, and we actually had another sport option lined up, so we were good with just calling off this whole farce. Eventually he did. The last thing he said was that his wife would be getting our money back to us . . . amazingly, we haven't seen that check, even though I wrote a very polite email just last week, reminding them of our address!
So Nathan is running cross country and actually enjoying it! They didn't have a meet today, but they'll have one next Saturday. The last meet he was battling shin splints (better now) and allergies (still flaring up but hopefully won't be as bad), so he is eager to keep improving his time. Running is a pretty practical thing to do well, especially if he does make it to USAFA! I have been praying that the Lord would provide the opportunities my kids need, and close doors they don't need to go through, and He definitely opened this cross country door. It will be neat to see how He uses this experience in Nathan's life!