By Alex Flanagan
If Houston Texans Wide Receiver Braxton Miller were in charge of the youth sports universe, kids would love practice because it would be enjoyable. It’s those good time childhood memories that stuck with Miller and helped him turn playing a sport into a career. “When you have fun, good things happen,” he says.
The former Ohio State quarterback started playing organized sports when his dad signed him up to play football, baseball and basketball around the age of 6. He fell hard for basketball, but by age 10 it was clear football was destined to be his long-term love. By his sophomore year in high school Miller dropped all other sports to focus solely on football.
In 2015, he left behind his dream of playing quarterback in the NFL after two surgeries led him to switch to wide receiver. It was a transition he was able to make partly because of those days playing football after school with his friends. “Over time you keep doing a skill set and you build a foundation. You just keep building and building and its part of your system. Part of your game. It sticks with you.”
What sport will Miller encourage his own son to pursue? He’s not sure yet. Little 5-year-old Landon Miller is already playing soccer, basketball and flag football. “I love to see him active and having fun,” says Braxton, proudly boasting his son has been asked to move up in flag football because he dominates his own age group. “There is a big difference between him and other kids his age.”
While Landon is showing early signs of having inherited some of his father’s athletic ability, Braxton has no expectations that he follow in his father’s footsteps. “I ain’t going to be that type of guy. Nah,” he says, laughing at the idea of becoming an overly intense sport parent. “Whatever he wants to do. He will have lots of options while he’s growing up. I’m not going to force anything on him. That’s up to him.”
Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website alexflanagan.com and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.