My Son Stopped Playing Football and Everyone Stopped Asking About Him

I woke up this morning with a 26 year old son. I’m not sure how that happened but I’m certain having him at 15 had a lot to do with it.

Chris is truly the glue that has held me together. Since the moment I loaded him into the moving truck kicking and screaming so that we could settle in Raleigh, NC, our struggle was one that was not well spoken but was heavily lived.

Raising a son when I was still trying to grow up myself had to be the toughest thing anyone could do. Trying to find mentors for him was even harder. I once had a friend who agreed to help me coach Chris’ basketball team so he could mentor him. On the day of the first game, he didn’t show up. He never showed up again.

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So I was his role model, his mentor, his mother and his teacher. It was up to me to do everything and be everything.

Everything is what I did….everything to make sure my son never knew how bad we had it and everything to make sure he had every opportunity that any of his peers had. Eventually he excelled in sports and music, playing the violin for over 10 years.

As an elite soccer, football and basketball player, as well as an elite hurdler, Chris found his way being heavily recruited in sports. His senior year was spent at a football powerhouse and since his school didn’t have a track team, he competed as an unattached runner at several college meets. As a high school senior, coached by me, Chris led the country in the 400 hurdles.

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As a kid who was being recruited by some of the top schools, fans, friends and family were always around, cheering for him. Even his sperm donor became so present, you’d have thought he really cared. My days were spent answering questions about him and his plans. “What is Chris going to do?” “Where is he going?” “I can’t wait to see him play on Sundays”

He eventually had to decide which direction to go in.

After an initial commitment to Oregon State, he chose to play football for Division 1 Middle Tennessee State University.

When he arrived in Tennessee, I reached out to a friend who was another town away and asked him to help look after Chris, mentor him. I can still remember his words “Mannn, I’m too busy. Let that man grow up.” So again, Chris was without a mentor and I was so far away.

I thought I had prepared him for what was ahead but the reality was, Chris should have stayed home. He wasn’t ready for college or the atmosphere of the largest school in Tennessee. Turns out, he would have too much fun, not enough studying, and would eventually be told he could not return.

After landing at another college at the urging of one of his MTSU coaches, Chris found himself again in a place he didn’t belong. Playing football was no longer fun. Life was even worse.

By this time I had moved to Maryland and his options were dwindling. No child of mine was going into the military so we had to sit down and figure things out. Chris’ new days in Maryland consisted of random drug testing, working odd jobs and coming up with a plan for his future. He took time off from school. He sat in his room for hours. He eventually made friends and began to figure out who he was and what he wanted to do.

He was done with football. And that quickly, everyone who was once there to see him play and hope to see him play on Sundays, was also done with him.

We once had a shouting match where I let him fully expose himself with his feelings. He admitted to only pursuing football because that is where he got the most support. He was making others happy. His donor supported him and that was enough. Partly why he was doing some of the destruction to himself at MTSU was because he felt like it would bring him closer to his donor. Not realizing he was only damaging himself.

After taking time off, Chris was now enrolled at a Junior College and decided to return to what made HIM happy, playing soccer. As expected, he excelled after having so much time off.

So, today is Chris’ birthday. He made it another year. That, itself, is an accomplishment because not long ago, I was afraid he wouldn’t.

While no one really cares what he’s doing since he no longer plays football, let me catch you up. In the past few years, Chris has been dismissed from school, battled drug abuse, mental illness, suicide attempts, and as recently as last year, has been hospitalized to deal with depression. Depression because he had no clue how to cope with the direction his life had taken and because the “fans” had went away.

Now, routinely checking in with a therapist, my son celebrates another year of life.

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Playing for his elite soccer team as a child

So what is he up to? After a few opportunities to play professional soccer, medically, it was never meant to be. He has relocated to Charlotte, surrounded by positive high school brothers and has an amazing sales and marketing position at a major company. After establishing state residency, he has plans to complete his final requirements for an undergraduate degree. However, he is reminded that if it’s not for him, it should never be.

I don’t care if my son dropped out of school, never kicked or caught another ball, or if he became a bus station janitor. I have my son another year. And that’s all that matters.

Happy Birthday son. Mom will always love, support and cheer for you.

Peace!

A reminder to you: Check on your loved ones who “seem” like they have it all together. Chances are, they’re holding it together for the outside world while struggling inside.

National Suicie Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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41 thoughts on “My Son Stopped Playing Football and Everyone Stopped Asking About Him

      1. Great story,Chris will be okay,his tests will be his testimony!Chris is a winner and his life is a blessing and his blessed to have a living Mother like you!God Bless you

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is beautiful thanks for sharing because we all get so involved in our own lives that we forget about others thinking their doing great.We never know what each other is going through because so much is keep quite ……My hear goes out to you and D but you forgot to mention he is a good cook…….my saying is THANK GOD I DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT I BEEN THROUGH. ….BE BLESSED

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      1. Lol… thanks so much. Yes, he’s an amazing cook. He learned that having to cook his own meals before I got home from work.
        If I looked like half what I’ve been through, I wouldn’t ever go out in public. Lol… thanks again!!

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    2. Sounds like you both found life! The persuit and completion of true happiness! Our world is too darn confused about the tangibles. The most important things are those “things ” that can not be touched. You have your son… priceless

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  1. COULDN’T OF SAID ANY BETTER…YEAH THEY LOOK AT US FUNNY WHEN WE GOT PREGNANT SO YOUNG BUT THAT DIDN’T MAKE US OR OUR KIDS ANY LESS AS A PERSON…BECAUSE FOR THOSE THAT HAVEN’T WALKED IN OUR SHOES BEING A TEENAGE MOM AND WITH ALL THE OBSTACLES WE HAD TO ENDURE AND OUR CHILD AS WELL …TAKE A DAMN BACKSEAT ..AND HAVE A NICE DAY!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand what you’re saying but I Wanted this post to focus on mental health. To be honest, I’m still embarrassed about being a teen mom. Nothing was cool about that. Thankfully I overcame it and my son is the proof of that.
      Thanks for reading this and commenting!

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      1. My heart goes out to you. I am a Registered Nurse and I have worked in mental health. It’s hard for adults to go thru life so kids always need a huge support system these days. You did a fantastic job as a mother and you have done everything in your power to give your child a better life. Job well done

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I had no idea about any of this! You are a very strong woman and he’s a strong young man despite the setbacks. Happy Birthday Chris and continue to push forward!

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  3. Go Chris! I’m proud of him. I offered to be a mentor to him when he was all alone in Montgomery, Alabama and I’m offering now and forever. If I can ever help I’m a phone call or a text away and you know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This should’ve come with a warning; brought me to tears. Breaks my heart to know that he was hurting so much. I’m very thankful that he’s working through his challenges at such an early age. Please thank Chris for sharing his story. It’s far more common than we’d like to admit and sharing his story will help others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol..I apologize for the tears. He has shown me time and time again that he can accomplish anything. I’m so proud of his growth…and I truly hope it helps someone else. Thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks so much!

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  5. Go Chris! I’m proud of him. I told you I would be a mentor to him when he was all alone in Montgomery, Alabama and I am here if you or he need me now and always. I’m just a phone call or a text away but you know that.

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  6. Firstly, Chris I hope you have a fantastic bday and you enjoy many more to come. I enjoy reading your blogs, this one is deep.
    You should be very proud of who Chris is and who he is becoming…
    Depression is something that touches a lot of homes and is often ignored or rejected because of shame. Thanks for the insight and I do hope that it helps someone that reads it.
    Please continue to write and I will continue to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you..and yes, I am so proud. We always ignore the signs of depression and our community tends to offer prayer yet no real solutions. We should never be embarrassed to have emotions and breakdowns.
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’ll keep writing as long as I have a story to tell.

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  7. This is such an awesome a great testimony! A true testiment of a mother’s love for their child. I pray that your son continues to the path to success. Thank goodness he has a mother like you who went above and beyond to make sure her child was doing OK.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Birthday to Chris and keep doing what you are doing! God’s got both of you. Thank you for being so real. Our communities struggle and suffer so much with mental illness due to lack of awareness, treatment and support. We have to learn about depression and other mental illnesses and share that knowledge with others. There are too many people suffering that can be helped. Your words are helping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our communities ARE struggling…because having mental illness has either been avoided, laughed at or treated as if it only needs prayer. I’m confident my son’s story can help someone else. Thanks for reading and providing your feedback!

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  9. You know you and I go back and forth on some topics sometimes and it gets pretty heartfelt and heated to say the least. 🙂 But this here miss. This was special. No One Ever Knows completely what others are going through but I think you definitely are showing how important it is to never give up on our kids and to always keep encouraging them and supporting them even when it seems like no one else is doing so. I think this was an encouragement to a lot of people. Thank You

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol…we both have strong personalities so it’s all good.
      I’m not sure how anyone could give up on their child, especially when it is obvious they are struggling. I’ll always support mine. He is everything to me.
      If one person could be helped from this, I am thankful. Thanks for reading.

      Like

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