Football and The Talk


When my son was seven years old, he was already an avid competitor in multiple sports and was now entering the realm of fully-padded tackle football. Registration requirements included a sports physical and wellness check-up. The doctor’s appointment went well. Alex was in great physical condition. The doctor asked him series of questions to evaluate his mental and emotional well being as part of the exam. Again, everything was satisfactory, so the papers were signed and we were set to go.

Before we left, the doctor talked to me about various aspects of Alex’s current developmental stage and things I could expect in the near future. He asked if I have ever talked to Alex about sex yet. I said, “No…he’s only seven.” The doctor said it’s never too early to start asking him questions so that I can monitor what he’s hearing at school or on the playground. “Just find out what he knows…or thinks he knows,” the doctor suggested.

That night, I went into Alex’s room and sat down next to him. After talking a little football, I casually asked, “Alex, do you know what sex is?” He defiantly sighed and said, “Yeahhh,” as if to suggest he would be stupid if he didn’t. I was shocked. I mustered the courage to probe deeper and asked, “What is it?” Then I braced myself for the answer. He said, “It’s when you tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.” I was relieved and had to turn my head to let out a small burst of laughter.

When I regained my composure I asked, “Do you know what the difference is between boys and girls?” He quickly answered, “Boys like fun things and girls like stupid things.” I chuckled and asked, “Okay……what about the physical differences?” Alex said, “Well, boys have short hair and girls have long hair…” He paused for a moment then added, “…and girls have great big tongues and they are really, really bossy.”

I decided at this point that Alex knew everything there was to know about girls and we went back to talking about football.