We're coming to the close of my son's first tackle football season. It's been so fun watching all the boys develop and grow, play and win. Only two boys on the team had played tackle football during last year's football season, all the rest were newbies to pads, helmets, hitting and being hit. So that first practice when they were required to wear their full equipment, it was a doozy. The heavy helmets and cumbersome pads made the boys clumsy and off balance. It was adorable watching them run around like mini-men, but then they started their tackling drills. Yikes! Some boys were tentative. Some were afraid to hit their friends. Others went after it like it was their job. And a few cried.
After a few practices the boys began to find their groove. They moved more comfortably in their equipment and their confidence was built and skills were strengthened. And I was amazed at how quickly they acclimated to the tackling and hitting.
I love football. Looooove it. However, this fall it took on a different feel for me. My baby was out there hitting and tackling. And being hit and tackled. I was (and still am) torn between the brutal nature and genuine thrill of the game. It's hard being a mom standing on the sidelines, during practices and games, watching your baby running with the ball clutched in his arms, hoping and praying for his safe passage. I've wanted to run out and yank kids off the field when they've played mean (I'm talking to you #20! You face masked my boy this weekend - no, no, no - bad boy!!). I've wanted to bubble wrap all those boys and keep their bodies safe. I've wanted them to have fun and feel the glory of a team playing hard and winning together.
They've done the latter and they know how it feels. It feels really good.
The last game of the season is next Saturday. My boy will be sad, he loves football and this first tackle season has taught him so much. As his mama, I will be glad to tuck his season in, safe and sound.
And as a football lover, I still have plenty of weekends to get my fix. Roll Tide Roll!
Here's our recipe:
Overnight Spiced Apple Oatmeal
1 C steel cut oats
2 C apples, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 C dried cranberries
1 1/2 - 2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t salt
4 C water
To start, prepare your slow cooker. Do this by generously spraying the inner container of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Next, add all of your ingredients into the container. Whisk vigorously to combine thoroughly. Cover and cook* on low for approximately 6 1/2 hours or on high for approximately 3 hours.
When the oatmeal is finished, spoon into bowls and garnish with pecans or walnuts, if you'd like. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave with a splash of milk.
*All slow cookers are different. Cook times may vary. I suggest first trying out this recipe during a weekend day to confirm the length of time you're slow cooker will need to cook but not burn your oatmeal. Also, I used a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker, a larger size works just as well.