WHEN YOUR SON'S HEAD IS DEEP IN A RUGBY SCRUM

WHAT IS IT ABOUT MY RELATIONSHIP with my son? Nine-year-old Michael is often the noisiest, most restless, and most daring member of the family. I worry about him much more than I do about both his older sisters combined. Their turn will come, I guess. But, for now, my prayers relate mainly to fast bike-riding, tree-climbing, and the new threat—rugby.

One Friday evening this past winter, Michael played his first rugby game. For those who don't know rugby, it's like gridiron football without the helmets and padding. Michael was nervous. I was beyond nervous. His school team had had only two coaching sessions, so they weren't properly prepared for what is often considered a dangerous sport, especially when some smooth-faced kid goes down under a mound of sweaty bodies.

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