When I was a child, my summers meant spending extra time with family and friends, going to the pool or beach, catching a few Yankees and Mets games, and sometimes a few brief getaways. But in late July, there was a trigger that turned my attention to football.
I didn’t play football, but I was, and still am today, a huge New York Jets fan. Back then, the Jets held training camps at Hofstra University on Long Island, not far from where I grew up. So, I would ride my bicycle to see my beloved Jets almost every day. It was great seeing them prepare for the season, and many of them would come over to the gate after practice to sign autographs.
Today, football remains a big part of my life. Now, I get to share it with my wife, Sheryl, and sons, Bradley and Jared. As I write this blog on another hot summer day on Long Island, I can tell you one thing: This family is ready for football season, and there have been signs of it all summer long.
The boys wetted their appetites with a youth football camp in June, but the summer has mainly been spent focusing on other things. Now with the kickoff to the season, specifically our sons’ youth football campaigns, the juices are flowing and here are some significant indications of that - perhaps similar to what’s happening in your household.
1. Window shopping turns into real shopping
From the end of last season to around May or June, my family and I would gravitate toward the football gear and apparel whenever we were in sporting goods stores. We would always be looking without intent on buying anything.
But during the summer, Bradley has been spending extra time looking at some things he’ll need for his middle school football season like a mouthpiece, gloves, cleats, arm sleeves, and wristbands. Jared also spends some time snooping around for gear he might need for flag football like cleats and accessories.
The window shopping is over and the purchasing is underway!
2. Looking back before moving forward
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big picture person. I love taking photos at our sons’ games, other sporting events, family get-togethers, and other places we go. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking back at photos from Bradley and Jared’s games last season, and it’s getting me fired up for this coming season. Last year, Bradley’s season ended with a Super Bowl win and Jared had a great first season of flag football. We are looking for more fun and excitement this season!
3. Inspired at “The Most Inspiriting Place on Earth”
I don’t know if it will turn out to be an annual visit, but I hope so. Last summer, we went on vacation to Ohio and made a stop at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. It’s a great place for all types of football fans and I highly recommend that all families carve out some time to visit.
Learn more about the U.S. National Team program by clicking here.
We didn’t expect to go back again so soon - unless a Jets player was being inducted - but since Bradley was selected to play in the U.S. National Team Canton Middle School Bowl Series last month, we went back to the Hall of Fame. Will we be back next summer? I’m not ruling it out for several reasons, but here’s a memo to those individuals that have hall of fame votes: Joe Klecko and Kevin Mawae should be in the hall of fame!
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4. The NFL has started, Youth Football is next
We’re pretty excited in our house after the Jets drafted quarterback Sam Darnold. We’ve been paying attention to preseason and are excited to go to see a training camp practice. Bradley and Jared are extra pumped up about going to see their favorite players because it’s another step toward stepping onto the field.
Jared loves going out for passes from a machine Bradley, who plays center and prefers to snap the ball through the hole in the banner with the receiver’s hands, instead of throwing it. With all the interactive activities like watching practice and getting autographs, the boys, along with my wife and I, will officially be ready for the start of the Jets season, and more importantly, our sons’ seasons.
It’s almost here. We’ve waited since November and now it’s just about time for Bradley and Jared to step onto the gridiron. Football is what this family lives for.We experience it in many different ways.
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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 will be playing middle school football on Long Island this fall while his younger son Jared plays flag football. Peter, his wife Sheryl and the boys are busy cheering on the New York Jets when they’re not at a youth football field.