Bruised bridges and deep breaths

After reading a Berenstain Bears book with his younger brother last year, our older son became intrigued by the sport of LaCrosse. I wasn’t around when my husband read them the book, but a few days later we had LaCrosse sticks and balls in our backyard. Apparently the storyline covered the sport and suddenly, our older son was infatuated with the idea of playing.

This week he is attending a LaCrosse camp hosted by our YMCA. Yesterday was the first day. He couldn’t wait to get there. I dropped him off at the field, lingered for as long as I could without seeming like an out-of-control “helicopter parent” and as I left felt thankful that I’d remembered the bicycle helmet, Gatorade, protective gear for his lower body and had packed a lunch he might even eat.

My younger son and I arrived at the park early yesterday afternoon. I wanted to see big brother’s moves in action (outside of our backyard) before the camp was over for the day. He was all over the field: catching the ball, throwing it, actively defending for his team, taking shots on goal. I was thrilled to see him playing so well.

Then his coach came to me.

“He got hit on the nose with a stick today. He came out for a while, we iced it, but I was nervous. It was black and blue immediately. He said he was fine and wanted to go back in. He’s been playing ever since.”

I glanced to the field. Of course I couldn’t see any signs of the hit on his face from that distance. The coach (all of twenty years) apologized and went to finish up the session. I started to fret.

Those who have known me since high school know that I’ve always said I’d never let any  sons of mine play football because it was too dangerous. Watching this stick-wielding game from my spot on the hill, I felt my nerves creep up: am I crazy for letting him try this sport?

My son walked over when they were done. The bruise was visible, as was a small cut across the bridge of his nose. But his eyes were fine and he didn’t seem to be in pain. I think he was more irritated that the person who hit him hadn’t apologized. After a mobile phone consult with my husband I decided not to take him in to the doctor.

However, last night we went to our favorite second-hand sports shop. Today my older son is wearing a helmet with a face guard.

For now, this is enough to calm my nerves. (In addition to the several kisses I planted on his head when I left him at the field this morning.)

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