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athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: Can grandpa come to my game?

Dear Athletic Support:
My son has been begging for his “Pop” to come to one of his high school football games. Up to this point, I’ve told him that it’s out of the question. My reasoning is simple: My father is 84 years old and has all sorts of underlying health problems. The last thing he needs to do is be around all the people in the stands on a Friday night, especially the ones who don’t do a good job wearing their masks. I’ve tried to explain this to my son, but he just keeps bringing it up. What should I do?

— Keeping Him Safe

Dear Safe: Across the country, people with elderly parents are in this exact same position. It’s hard to walk the line between keeping those you love physically healthy, while also taking into account their mental wellbeing.

I understand that you’re just trying to keep your father safe, but have you asked him what he would like to do? As long as “Pop” is of sound mind, I think this is his decision to make.

If he fears for his safety and doesn’t feel comfortable coming to a game, then by no means should he be forced to. On the other hand, if he feels like seeing his grandson play football is worth the inherent risks, then he should be given that option.

One of the worst parts about this pandemic has been how it’s separated us, both literally and figuratively. Use this dispute as a chance to bring your family together.

Dear Athletic Support: I’ve been reading your column for a good while now. I mostly enjoy what you have to say, but there’s one thing that’s been bothering me. In that little bio bit you’ve got at the end of the articles, there’s a line that says you were a “professional” quarterback. I’ve talked to people. I’ve looked all over the internet. But I can’t find anything that says you played quarterback in the NFL. Are you trying to pull one over on us, or what? —Not Buying It

Dear Not Buying It: You’re right. I wasn’t a quarterback in the NFL, but I was a professional quarterback.

I played ball for a team in Sweden called The Carlstad Crusaders. They compete at one of the highest levels of football in Europe and are nine-time national champions. I’m proud to say we brought home the gold during my tenure back in 2011.

But was I actually a “professional?”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “professional” as somehow who, “participates for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs.”

In other words, did I get paid?


It wasn’t near what Patrick Mahomes is making, but it was enough to live on. I also coordinated the offense and called the plays from the field. All in all, that season was some of the most fun I ever had playing football.

I always appreciate a good fact check. I’m sure many people had this same question. Thanks for sending it in!

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Outside of athletics, kids’ brains are also at risk. Who knows what sort of impact virtual learning will have on their cognition and critical thinking skills. In this regard, I offer one simple tool — a good book! And luckily, I know just the book for kids struggling with the shift to virtual learning:


books make brainz taste badOkay, you caught me… I’m the author of this book. It was published last week and awarded a #1 New Release ranking on Amazon. BMBTB deals directly with the same topic covered in this column, except in a much more lighthearted, kid-friendly way (zombie teachers and brain-munching screens!)

If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

Eli Cranor's new book Books Make Brainz Taste Bad has just been released. ZOMBIES HATE BOOKS! Especially the zombie teachers at Haven Middle School. That's why they're using VR headsets to fry kids' brainz. Luckily, Dash Storey knows how to save his classmates from the zombie teachers—BOOKS! They make brainz taste bad!

"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author

Previous Athletic Support Columns:
Can’t go to her games like I used to
ACL injuries on the rise in youth sports
High school hot seat?
Daughter rolls ankle: Time to walk it off?
College football cancelled but my son’s still playing
Shift to virtual learning causing lag in young athletes
What you look for, you will find
Back to school woes
Football guidelines a breeze compared to band
What to do if your season stalls
Left behind
Travel ball leads to constipation
Collegiate sports for fun or money?
No right answer
Sunburns not part of the game
Summertime soreness
Vulnerability is key in uncertain times
Sick of COVID-19
Racial tensions rise as sports gear up again
Silver lining for post pandemic sports
Wearing masks to practice
Coach disappears after season is cancelled
What happens to the team if a player gets COVID-19?
Will there be football in the fall?
With sports gone, son’s grades tanking
Lost without sports
Teddy bears and tessellations
Cornavirus? We’ve got games to play!
Girlfriend getting in the way
A parent’s role when sports are over
Talk to your grandkids, carefully
At what age should sports stop being fun?
What ever happened to going door to door?
Lack of respect for track
Should my son take supplements?
I need your help
Help! My daughter wants to play football
Transferring to a smaller school: the good, the bad, and the ugly
What’s that smell? It’s not as bad as you think
A break from school but not from sports
Should a coach pray with his team?
Coach tells player not to shoot
Do nice guys (and girls) really finish last?
Coach cancels post-season awards banquet
No cellphones in the locker room!
Fake scholarship signing?
Withholding football as punishment
Sick and tired of losing
Late bloomer, a blessing or a curse?
Scholarship hopes dead, now what?
Is my son a butterfly chaser?
Don’t force sports on your kids
Hunting or Football?
Beat the Heat
Idle Hands
Coach’s son gets special attention

Published October 25, 2020

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