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athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: My son doesn’t wear a jockstrap

Dear Athletic Support:
My son’s going into the last game of his football first-ever football season. He’s only in fourth grade, but has seemed to enjoy it. Which is great because I was really worried about it at the start. I guess, if I’m being honest, I’m still worried about it. I’m a single mom so there’s just some stuff that’s hard for me to talk to him about. One of those things is proper protection, especially of his “private” parts. My son doesn’t wear a jockstrap. I tried bringing it up once, and he said none of the other boys on the team wore one either. What’s going on here? When did this change? Is it really safe for him to play football without any protection down there?

— Jockstrap Momma

Dear Jockstrap: I’m not going to lie, this question made me chuckle. With that being said, the issue you’ve raised is a serious one.

Five years ago, when I was still coaching, this shift had already begun. Matter of fact, there weren’t even any jockstraps during my playing days in the late 90s and early 2000s.

What we did have, however, were padded “girdles.”

These strange pieces of equipment are similar to compression shorts, like the kind worn by joggers or bikers. In other words, they’re tight. Tight enough to keep everything in place down there, which is really all a jockstrap was for anyway.

The added benefit of a girdle is that all the pads (except for knee pads) are already sewn into the fabric. This is great because everything is in one place. Gone are the days of kids having to scrounge around the locker room thirty minutes before kickoff for a missing thigh pad. The girdle has it all!

Nowadays, most teams just practice in “shells.” Which means the players wear their shoulder pads, helmet, and shorts with these newfangled girdles on underneath. This is great for early in the season, when it’s extremely hot. The one downside is that the girdles don’t have any knee protection built in.

For this reason, I’ve seen some players wear volleyball kneepads to practice. Which is a far cry from wearing a jockstrap, but hey, at least your son’s manhood is secure.

Dear Athletic Support: My wife and I are huge sports fans. All our kids are athletes too. We’re constantly coaching them about what to eat and how to get the most out of their bodies, but I’m starting to feel like my wife doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Over the last few years, she’s gained a substantial amount of weight. When she tries to talk to our kids about their fitness levels and health, I can see them start to zone out. I know they’re not listening. I don’t want to come off as a jerk, but I feel like I need to talk to my wife about this. Is there any way I can have that conversation and not be in the doghouse afterwards?

— Physically Fit Father

Dear Physically Fit: Nah, man. I really don’t think you can. If you feel strongly enough about your wife’s weight to have this conversation — you’re going to spend some time in the doghouse.

Good luck.

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:
The ‘game’ is over, let’s shake hands
Can grandpa come to my game?
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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