This past Saturday was Jaylin’s first football game. After all the weeks of practice and the jamboree a couple of weeks ago, it was exciting to finally have a real game.
With this being a 3rd and 4th grade team and Jaylin just in the 3rd grade, we knew he wouldn’t be one of the starters. But the game was still exciting right from the beginning. I guess it helps that we know so many kids (and their parents) on the team. And it helps that the parents were all pretty enthusiastic about it. And it even helped that our team had cheerleaders - girls from kindergarten through second grade at the school. That added to the atmosphere a lot.
Because of the young age of the players, one of the coaches can stay out on the field with them, mainly to help them with deciding which play to run. So it was an exciting moment when the defense coach called out to the sideline, “Send me Jaylin!” Something every dad loves to hear. Especially if his son’s name is Jaylin.
Jaylin did okay on defense. He missed a few tackles, but then he made one or two as well. He really seemed to get his confidence up as the game went on. That really went for all the players, actually. You could tell they were getting more comfortable with what they were supposed to be doing. Which made the game even better, and even more exciting.
Jaylin’s big moment came on offense, though. The main running back was getting hit pretty hard, so they put Jaylin in, as that was a position he had been practicing for. When the play came, the quarterback put the ball in Jaylin’s hands, and Jaylin took off running. And he didn’t stop. At least not for 15 or more yards until they finally tackled him. But it was more than enough for a first down. And the crowd went wild. After it had died down a little, a dad with a deep voice sitting up behind us said, “Way to go, baby!” And that’s how I felt, too.
As it turns out, Jaylin’s team lost the game. But not by much. Both teams scored two touchdowns each, but the other team was able to get the extra point each time, and that made the difference in the score. Still, win or lose, it was a fun game. And most everyone came away smiling.
If you want to see Jaylin’s big moment on the field, here it is in video form, enthusiastic parents and all. Next time, we will have to get him to run to the near side of the field to make a better video.