Elijah Earnhardt is 12-years-old and he was looking forward to playing in the Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association this fall. Those plans were put on-hold when league officials informed him and his family that Elijah would not be able to play this season. Why? Well, Elijah is 6'1 and weighs nearly 300 pounds. The league limit is 135. Watch the MyFoxDFW.com story below for more details (email subscribers click here).
Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com
Normally, I would be ranting and raving about how they should let the kid play. Not enough of our kids are active. Why are league officials holding this young man back? I would be wrong if I did all that. As you saw in the video, Elijah is eligible to play in his school's league. He just can't play Pee Wee football where the weight limit is 135 pounds. "But Sol, his coach said there are other kids in the league that weigh over 135. They just put an X on their helmets and they can only be linemen."
OK...two things about that. First, let's say there are other kids in the league who are over the weight limit. What do you think they weigh - 150, 175, 200 pounds maybe? At the heaviest, they're giving up at least 100 pounds to Elijah. The best athletes in the world aren't asked to compete against others who are 100 pounds heavier than they are. Here in St. Louis, the Rams have Steven Jackson. He's a big running back. Jackson's 6'3, 240 and has 5% bodyfat. However, he wouldn't last more than a few plays if he were put on the offensive line and had to routinely block 300-pound defensive linemen. Any kid in a Pee Wee league would be at a total disadvantage against Elijah.
Some people are going to get mad at me for this next point, but it needs to be expressed. Our kids are too big. There's no way around it. I know there are medical anomalies all the time, but an otherwise healthy seventh-grader should not be 300 pounds - or 200 pounds for that matter. Their bones, ligaments, tendons and vital organs are still 12. Yet, so many are double the size they should be. We feed them far too much junk and they get far too little exercise. The results of our collective irresponsibility as parents and those who care about children are now showing up on athletic fields.
They want to play and should be able to play, but it's becoming too dangerous for them to play. I'm not just talking about the 300-pound kid landing on your 140-pound kid. The health of the 300-pound kid has to be protected as well. Big kids are always pushed toward football, but hardly anyone checks to see if they're healthy enough to play. We have to do better. As parents, we need to prepare more home-cooked meals and those meals must include more vegetables, lean proteins and fewer carbohydrates. We have thousands of dollars worth of video game equipment, laptops, desktops and phones in our homes, but we have no dollars worth of exercise equipment.
Coaches can't have every post-game meal at the nearest and cheapest fast food restaurant. Take the kids where there are healthier options. We can all do more to encourage our school leaders and elected officials to increase the physical education requirements in our states. If we don't stem the tide now and I mean right now, the 800-pound gorilla in the room won't be an actual gorilla. It'll be your kid. Until next time...
Be a Good Sport!