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Can grandpa come to my game?
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

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 of the BOOKS MAKE BRAINZ TASTE BAD series. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to or use the contact page on 

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