How my two sons grew up loving football in different ways, and why that's OK

By Peter Schwartz | Posted 3/6/2018

Many parents will tell you that every child is different. You love them all the same, but all children, boys or girls, are unique in their own ways. 

Siblings may have some common traits, but many times they can be so different in many ways, and that’s not a bad thing. One of the most challenging aspects of being a parent is having the ability to understand those differences in your kids and to be able to balance things in life that can make them all happy and comfortable. 

Differences in kids can be as complex as how good they are in the classroom, what kinds of food they like to eat, and how clean they can keep their bedrooms. You can also see those differences in youth sports, where one kid might prefer one sport and a sibling might like another. Some children like to play multiple sports, and some kids have difficulty finding their passion.

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In the case of my sons Bradley and Jared, each of them love football, and they show that in different ways.

Bradley has been playing tackle football for eight years and is now getting ready to play for his middle school in September. Jared will turn 8 years old in a few months and his football acumen is really starting to grow. He gave tackle football a try a couple of years ago and wasn’t comfortable with it, but now plays flag football and absolutely loves it.   Two boys, two different ways of satisfying their quench for football, and it’s great.

Bradley was around pro football when he was very young, because I used to take him to practice every day when I was the radio announcer for the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League. He was exposed to the sport very early in his life, and now it’s a big part of his life. Between playing football and being a football fan, the sport is in his DNA. He is hoping to play the sport as long as possible. 

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Jared has always liked the concept of football. He would always want to play in the backyard and go see his brother’s games. But when the time came to play, the tackle game just wasn’t for him. Playing flag football has also steered him toward other aspects of the sport. He loves going to New York Jets games now and is actually learning a lot about the game from playing Madden.

I think my wife Sheryl and I have two football fanatics on our hands now. We already knew Bradley was that way, but now Jared is like a super fan. He’s even become obsessed with football cards and trades them with his friends. It’s taught him about the players in the NFL, and now he can have legitimate football conversations with adults. 

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Just like with anything else in life, kids who grow up in the same household can be very different. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing, because every child has different interests and goals in life. But with football, there are also different ways to enjoy the sport, and that includes how kids go about experiencing it. 

Some people have joked with me that Bradley and Jared were born, not with a silver spoon in their mouths, but with a football in their hands. I’m OK with that!

Peter is a sports anchor for the CBS Sports Radio Network, FOX News Headlines 24/7 and WCBS 880 Radio in New York.  His son Bradley plays youth tackle football for the Super Bowl Champion East Meadow Rams on Long Island while his younger son Jared plays flag football for the LSW Giants.   Peter, his wife Sheryl and the boys are busy cheering on the New York Jets when they’re not at a youth football field.