I played a lot of football as a kid. I played nearly every down possible between third and eighth grade. And then, when I got to high school, and everybody started to pack on muscle, I figured out the hard way that being a 125 pound lineman and linebacker wasn't going to work. Football broke my heart.
But up until then, football and its tough love were good to me. As a nerd, it introduced me to a different set of friends I otherwise wouldn't have had. It taught me to think analytically, looking for clues as to how a play would unfold. Most important, it taught me physical and mental toughness.
At this point, if I'm lucky enough to have kids, I wouldn't want them to play the game. The game has broken my heart a second time. I love football. I love it despite my torn-up shoulder, cleat-scarred shins and likely multiple concussions. The game is forever a part of me. I just don't think it should be a part of them.