See that big black X? That tells the other players that you are huge and probably outweigh you by 50 pounds... or more. Tank was thrilled when that big black X was applied to his helmet. He looks tough in his uniform. He is huge!
At first glance you would might think it would be best to avoid such a huge player, until the ball is snatched and you realize that this big X man is a teddy bear. Seriously, we thought football would help him with the frustration and aggression he had with his brothers. The perfect outlet, but we were wrong. He chats with the opposing linemen. He watches the kites or planes or the game as it progresses down the field and is quite insulted when he gets hit hard.
The coaches yell at the other boys to be tough, "You can handle it" and with Tank their tone changes. They still tell him to be tough, but with compassion and enouragement. The amount of support and reassurance given to Tank has been so touching to me. The football world is new to us, new to Tank and these simple words of gratitude will never be enough to thank the amazing people who have blessed Tank's life. They have taught him things we would never be able to teach him at home. He has learned that he can be tough and do hard things when he needs and wants to.
I don't know if he will continue to play in the years to come. I don't know if he will ever be aggressive in this football way. Perhaps not. However he will walk away from the season knowing that he means a great deal to his coaches. I'm sure they would have loved a big X man who would take down the opponents with force, but they encouraged and supported the X man they got and he loves them in return.
From this mother of an X man, thank you for all that you have done. Thank you for showing my gentle son that he matters. Thank you for giving so much of your time to these children. The hours you spend don't go unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you for filling our lives with a love for a fun game.