Guest Author - Judith Hodges
As a parent, when a child is born you have to make decisions for that child everyday, from what to feed him to the clothes he wears. It is a big responsibility and your decisions are often questioned by well meaning family, friends, and complete strangers. My rant is about a well meaning stranger who talked to my son today about his age and grade in school. She proceeded to tell me how to get him in school early so he could be in first grade with kids his own age. When I said that we chose to keep him back, I got the "Oh really" look. I hate having to explain to people why, so I will post my reasons on here and give the address from now on. So what does this have to do with football? I will explain.
My son was born September 6, 2001. He misses the cut off to start school in the state of Georgia by 6 days. I could have pushed and shown that he is smart enough to be in Pre-K already, but we decided to wait. He will turn 16 in 10th grade, 17 in 11th grade, and 18 in 12th grade. If he chooses to play football, he will be the age all the other kids are physically. We want him to get as much out of his high schools sports career as he could. At 4, why are we already thinking of him playing high school football, baseball, or golf?
My husband was in Kindergarten when his family moved to Virginia. He was moved up to 1st grade when he was there because he was ahead of everyone. He stayed in the advanced grade when they returned to Georgia. So he was a 16 year old senior playing varsity football. He was not his adult size and was playing with adults. He was one hell of a player, but he often wonders what would have happened if he had been his correct age playing football in high school. That's an extra year or possibly two. It is something that his mother regrets because she feels she may have cheated him out of a chance to play sports with his physical equals.
So for our son, we are choosing to keep him home an extra year. Also he will be emotionally and socially maturity to deal with life after high school. It may be crazy reasons to complete strangers, so I do not go into detail. But if he is 6'4 like my grandfather when he is a senior, he could play college football at UGA or hoops at Duke. He will get his education paid for while I am still paying off student loans. Call me crazy for thinking like this about a 4 year old, but as a parent I have to think of his future.