Celebrating Football Moms
Happy Mother's Day from Gridiron Football!
Springtime brings us a fresh season of flag football- and a special day in May to celebrate the virtues of moms everywhere! With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we want to celebrate moms and what they provide on and off the field as parents, coaches, and key leaders in our organization.
From Football Moms: How Football has Shaped and Blessed Our Families
When asked how football has benefited their families, most moms respond with an enthusiastic, “That’s a big question!”
This is probably because there are so many possible answers. Some moms emphasize the health benefits for their kids by being physically active in football from a young age. For others, it’s about the life skills learned such as team work, discipline, confidence, and dedication. 88 percent of parents believe that sports benefit their child’s physical health, and 73 percent of parents believe that sports benefit their child’s mental health- and they are right! (source)
When young athletes are passionate about a sport, a supporting network starts to develop around the team. Families become involved together- and we all know what a central role moms play in keeping the family happily pursuing a common goal. But the players aren’t the only ones who benefit from choosing to get involved as a football family.
Football gave us more than something to do on the weekends,” says football mom and Gridiron Chief Financial Officer, Kelli Cheever. “It gave us the ability to make family friends. We were new to the community at the time, but through football we were able to get involved and make fast friends. Our family also likes service opportunities, and in the long run it was a lot of fun!
Family on the sidelines can benefit from the experience just like their players! Football families form a community and over time, true friendships form for parents as they do for team mates.
When asked if her son keeps in touch with any football buddies from his childhood days, Veteran football mom Leisha said, “Absolutely! He is still best friends with a teammate from 2nd grade, and they both now play at different colleges. He has other friends from the same football team he played on from Kinder through 6th grade.”
Friends for the whole family- and how about strengthening sibling relationships, too?
Leisha, whose son Dylan is a Quarterback at Dartmouth College, shared how football was a starting point for activities for the whole family to enjoy together:
It was a blessing for both children, though our daughter didn’t play football. Because football was a central focal point for the family, our daughter became involved in drill team- and was also on the field! It became a family activity rather than being focused on one child, and each kid was appreciative of the experience the other was having.
Co-ed flag football opportunities for young siblings at Gridiron bring siblings together in a way that many don’t have the chance to play in other sports. Brothers and sisters that are close in age can play together on the same team toward the same goal, learning to work together in greater unity on and off the field.
Commenting on her kids’ experiences with youth sports, Leisha shared that, “It’s so much fun to watch your children choose something that they love, and pursue it. It’s about coming together as a family and helping your children through those trials and tribulations that sports can naturally bring.”
For any mom, those tender moments when your kids turn to each other, confide in, and comfort one another are a gift. Watching your child play sports is full of so many emotions- and going through those experiences together really solidifies a family’s internal bonds.
Advice for Football Moms
How do you give your players the Best Football Experience?
Here are some tips from Gridiron Football Moms and the Gridiron Team to be the best team mom this season!
1. Emphasize Enjoyment and Skill Development over Winning
Gridiron Football Washington mom Bonnie Mooney said, “My biggest advice would be to let them have fun, make friends, and enjoy it. It’s about learning and growing– we aren’t in the NFL yet!”
When you focus on skill development during your child’s early sports experience, your child will be less stressed, less likely to get injured, and more likely to win games! Consider sending your player to a skills development camp with friends for that extra 1-on-1 training and confidence boost.
Out of that focus, the wins will happen naturally and you’ll all have more fun in the process!
“Football has shaped our lives by being active as a family, connecting with like minded families, and gives us something to look forward to during the season. We absolutely love football season!” said Bonnie.
2. Discuss the Importance of Perseverance During Wins and Losses
The lessons learned from playing football will endure throughout your player’s life. One of those important lessons is about how to handle conflict and competition.
“Advice for new moms: stay positive, encourage your little ones, and always be their #1 fan,” said Gridiron Football Texas mom Rosa Zenteno. “Football has taught my child discipline, learning how to adapt to change, how to deal and overcome adversity and it has helped him develop team leadership skills.”
By discussing each game with your player, you can help them to remember the experience and retain the lessons they learned from putting in the effort. You open the door for meaningful conversations with your child, and help them to process the emotions they have as they win and lose games.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Gridiron is out to break certain stigmas about football: that it’s dangerous, or that it’s only for boys. For moms who want their boys and girls to face challenges and enjoy the benefits of football without the dangers of tackling– flag football is an option many find to be a perfect fit.
Playing football has been such a positive experience for our daughter. This is her second season to play and it been incredible to watch not only her skills progress over time, but more importantly, her confidence and love for the game. She was nervous to be the only girl on her team, but her coaches and teammates have been so supportive from the very beginning. We look forward to watching her play every Friday night as the whole community comes together to support these kiddos. I did have some hesitations at first, with her playing football, but I am so glad we gave it a chance. The team work and sportsmanship these kids have learned has been amazing.
~ Laura Caldwell, Gridiron Football Mom
When your kids find that they have outgrown something, it can be intimidating and rewarding to move onwards and upwards to the next best thing. This is why we focus on progressive play options, like 7on7 and Flex football. As your child grows, moms and coaches can grow too!
What Do Women Bring to Youth Sports?
Whether you’re actively involved in your child’s coaching and training, or support the team with rides and a bag full of post-game snacks- moms play an integral role in building the foundation that supports the best athletes.
While one study confirmed that most youth sports coaches are men, the Gridiron team across the nation sees hundreds of women and moms contribute at practice and on game day in multiple capacities.
Some moms are the reliable ride to practice, or hold the most-coveted title of, “lady with all the snacks!” We see moms who coach– or co-coach– making a difference in kids’ lives to long-term effect.
According to author and blogger KJ Dell’Antonia, women as coaches provide an example of women’s leadership capabilities to youth:
“When women coach, we show young boys and girls another woman in a leadership role outside the classroom. We set a great example for our girls, in particular, ‘by reminding them that their future life in sports doesn’t have to be in an organizational role.”
Women can bring a different skill set and perspective to coaching and league operations.
At Gridiron, we also see women who are key to our organization as League Commissioners, and who run the show as Game Day Managers! Our Gridiron women have strong communication and leadership skills, which allow them to be open and approachable for everyone, from coaches to parents, and to players.
“Women bring a servant-leadership perspective that parallels a task-oriented leadership style we see in the men, so as we lead we also work to make sure everyone is taken care of. As a mother, you bring these skills into play at home just as you do in an organization.”
-Kelli Cheever, Gridiron Chief Financial Officer
“As a woman and as a mom, I want to see the people around me grow. I think this is something a woman can bring to the table by nature, and I enjoy seeing how such different perspectives work in the male-dominated industries of sports and tech.”
-Autumn Howard, Gridiron Director of IT & Services
Supporting players at every step of the way, Gridiron teams are supported by a network of women and mothers who work hard for their football stars. Whether you’re looking forward to your child’s first season or a veteran football momma, the Gridiron football community welcomes and appreciates you!
With Mother’s Day approaching, Gridiron Football just wanted to take a moment to reflect upon a mother’s significant impact in our lives as nurturer, disciplinarian, purveyor of wisdom, and our coach. Coaching us in life and sometimes, on the field.
Parting words for other football mommas?
“Soak it up! Enjoy it, it’s the best gift you can have as a mother- no matter what your child’s sport.” – Leisha Cadwallader