A Big Head

We’ve never been a big sports family. We moved a lot with my job when we were raising our first four kids, so getting them involved in anything was an uphill battle. We discovered, much to our surprise, that 6th or 7th grade is pretty old to start a new sport. So, we never really got to enjoy the “fun” of organized sports. Tobey is giving us another shot at that. I’m not sure I appreciate the opportunity.

We tried soccer in the spring. As competitive sports go, it seemed pretty low threat. At his age, they didn’t even keep score. His coach was amazing, with the patience of a saint. Tobey was much more interested in chasing the other kid about his size around the field so they could tackle each other, complaining loudly that “the other kid hurt me”, than he was in kicking the ball. While he did score a couple of goals over the course of the season, he didn’t really take to the game.

Over the summer, we tried golf lessons. I used to play golf, and enjoyed it when I had the time to play. But life got pretty busy with four teenagers, and my clubs haven’t been out of the closet in years. Tobey really didn’t like all the standing around waiting for his turn to hit the ball. Another no-go.

And now, football season is upon us. While I really think it would be great for him to start playing early, the wife is less convinced. I cajoled her into signing him up (I was on the road during the last week of enrollment, so it fell to her), but she’s coming kicking and screaming. She has found all kinds of reasons not to shop for the one piece of real equipment he needs… a helmet.

That leads us to the “big head” title. I’ve been out shopping for helmets, and am amazed by two things… his head appears to be too small for any helmets readily available, and the price of the helmets! $300 for a kid’s football helmet? Really? When I played, I think the league gave us our helmets to use for the season. Of course, I’m sure those cheap plastic brain buckets wouldn’t be acceptable today. The ones I’ve found in the stores would rival a NASA astronaut’s equipment. Holy cow.

But, if I want him to play (and I’d at least like him to try), it looks like we’ll be shelling out lots of bucks. I was able to find one for less than $100, but it was way too big. The only brands that list XXS are the big ticket items. Well, I’m the one who pushed for him to do this.

The great fear, of course, is that he goes to a couple of practices and decides he hates it. At that point we’ll be out about $450 in fees for nothing. I’m pretty sure I’ll never hear the end of it. And rightly so, I suppose. But I know all of my kids regret at some level all of the things they never really got a chance to do because of our nomadic lifestyle, and I want to give Tobey a better shot at “normal”. Even if it means a $300 plastic hat.