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When Your Daughter Wants to Play Football

As part of a social shopper insights study, I was compensated to write this post. Yes, that means I got paid to go shopping. It’s tough work if you can get it, but I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity to pick up some outdoor sports gear for my family. Thanks Collective Bias! 

My daughter is a book worm. My daughter is the smallest kid in her class. And my daughter wants to play football.

Hubby and I aren’t sure where the interest in football came from. Although Hubby is fit as a fiddle, he’s more outdoorsy active, not sportsy active. In fact, he’s the only man on our street who was out mowing his lawn during the hockey playoffs. As for me, growing up, I was the kid who jammed in as many dance classes as physically possible in one week. I was always busy, but sports were not usually in my line of focus.

But we do encourage Stella to try new things. And this new thing is apparently football.

Um, okay. Sure. Where do we start? A ball, I guess, right?

“I’m pretty sure we have a football in the garage,” says Hubby.

Nope. No football. Some half-filled soccer and basketballs, but no football in sight.

no football at our house

Okay, the kid needs a football! (I definitely don’t want her in therapy in 20 years from now proclaiming how her fate as a professional athlete was thwarted due to a lack of sports equipment at home!)

So I decide to hit up Canadian Tire on a lunch break from work. Clearly, I’m not the only one with this brilliant idea though because it was quite busy when I pulled into the parking lot.

The Canadian Tire Parking Lot

But first, one must always (yes, ALWAYS) get a poutine from the french fry truck outside of this Canadian Tire. It is THE best poutine. Well, maybe not quite as good as “50 Pounds of Poutine,” but very close. Yes, very close.

I ordered it with a Diet Coke, so it’s all good. Probably only like 350 calories, I think.

Poutine from Glenn's French Fries

Okay, now that I had my lunch, I needed to focus … football! Hut, hut, let’s get to it! Oh wait, check out the massive garden section!

Garden Centre at Canadian Tire

So many pretty colours, so many pretty flowers …. Julie, FOCUS!

Fine, okay, I’ll focus. Here’s what I came for:

Footballs for Sale in Canadian Tire

Apparently, it would not be as simple as I thought. There were two sizes of footballs available: Junior and Official League size. I had no idea which size the team would be using, but I wanted her to be able to practice with the size of ball she would actually end up using. (Oh, did I not mention the team thing yet? She doesn’t just want to toss the ball around with her family and friends — she wants to join a team too.)

Here you can see the difference between the two sizes. In the end, I opted for the smaller one (the “Junior” size).

Two different sizes of footballs

As part of the team, there is a mandatory rule about mouth guards. I am more than happy to comply with this since not only do I want to protect her adult teeth, but she’s already had orthodontics — I’ve invested heavily here already!

There is also a general understanding that mouth guards protect against concussions. When the lower and upper jaws slam together, the force can cause a concussion, but (so the theory goes) the mouth guard absorbs this force. We know of several adults currently suffering debilitating effects from concussions. Plus, there was a recent tragic death of a high school student who died after playing rugby in the last month here in my home town. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of understanding around why some people are so seriously affected from concussions while others aren’t, but some researchers are suggesting it might be the cumulative effect of concussions over time.

However, a “Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport” was just released a few months ago and it determined that mouth guards do not prevent concussions. Regardless, mouth guards are proven to help prevent dental and oral-facial injuries. So I would be getting my daughter a mouth guard to wear during play even if it hadn’t been mandated by the team.

Like the footballs, there are two sizes: youth and adult. In this case, it was easy — Stella would definitely be a youth size. But the decision itself wasn’t that easy because there is a full range to choose from. Beyond the kind that are custom made in a dentist’s chair, there are off-the-shelf mouth guards that range from as cheap as $4 to as expensive as $50.

Full range of mouth guards

I wanted to get her a good mouth guard, naturally. But $50 seemed really steep. In the end, I opted for the $10 style of mouth guard. Although, it really ended up costing me $20 because I messed up the fit with the first one. You see, you have to take the mouth guard and drop it into boiling water. Once it is soft from the water, you put it into the mouth and let it mold into the shape of your teeth. Then you run it under cold water to finish the process.

Standard Youth Mouthguard

Stella already had cleats. So the mouth guard was really the only mandatory equipment that she needed. This is flag football (sometimes known as tag football) so a helmet and padding are not required. It looks like my shopping expedition was complete.

Oh wait. Mama needs a chair to cheer from the sidelines, right? Yep. Done deal.

Canada Camp Chair

Now that we had a football, we needed to practice how to throw and catch it. Catching came quickly to Stella, and it wasn’t too long before throwing came along too. (The photo below is actually kinda dorky because I was asking Stella to go in slow motion for the camera, but I included it because it cracks me up to see my son zooming by in the background. Just last week, he got his training wheels off and now he’s a speed demon! You can see all of my photos in this Google+ album.)

Practice with Football

We’re fortunate enough to be on a street with a TON of fabulous kids. As it turns out, the addition of a football to the usual mix of bikes, trikes, and street hockey games was welcomed. Check out this little cutie! A future superstar for sure!

Cute baby with Football

This past Saturday was the big day — Stella’s first game day. Not only were Hubby, Max, and I there to support Stella, but Grampy came along to cheer from the sidelines too.

Grampy in Camping Chair

She did so well! Not only did she overcome any nervousness about her first team game, but she is the only girl in the whole league! The best part was that the first thing she said to me after coming off the field is “I can’t wait for next week’s game!”

football game

I was so incredibly proud of her. She tried something new. She gave it her all.

Julie with her two children

In the end, when your daughter wants to play football, it’s a family affair.

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Comments

  1. Great post. I love it when kids stretch their limits and take a chance. They never cease to amaze us parents. Thanks for sharing.

  2. SoberJulie says:

    I have a daughter who is into sports which aren’t typically “for girls”, Boxing, Judo and yes football….and we encourage her as well. Love CT

  3. Sarah McCormack says:

    that is fantastic for Stella!! that said, I must admit that I am very glad my boys have no interest in football…. except in tossing around the very cool nerf bootball I picked up at, yes, Canadian Tire, a month ago!!

  4. Christine says:

    Wow! Love this post! So great when kids try out new things and immerse themselves in their new interests. I wonder if our daughter will want to play football. She’s four and totally into ballet and horseback riding!

  5. I always wanted my daughter to learn to dance and ice skate, but she liked soccer, gymnastics, and swimming. She also enjoyed playing touch football at school. As long as they have fun and enjoy themselves, that’s what’s important. Love shopping at Canadian Tire!

  6. Okay, I know this post wasn’t about this BUT…that poutine looks phenomenal.

  7. FANTASTIC post! My daughter ‘Hero’ is quite like your Stella! Good on her for trying out football!! My daughter went for bowling, and never looked back!

  8. First of all, awesome that your daughter is playing football. Second, you know where this might lead, right? High School / University Rugby. She’ll have an amazing foundation to build on! I thought you might want to be mentally prepared for that possibility!

  9. Shauna Rae says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Love the encouragement to try new things and the support not only on the big day but the journey to get to the first game.

    Left feeling inspired and wonder if I shouldn’t probe DD7 at breakfast to see if she’d like to play football too?!

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