Future for Football; An Interview with Ian Johnson

Thank you to our Sponsor, Future for Football, for partnering with us to bring you this post.

When we first heard about Future for Football, I sent out a message to our Writing Team: Do we have football families on the team?

Jessica responded: We’re sorta into football.

Niki responded: Jessica’s family is the most football-ish family I’ve ever met- the definition of a football family.

Jessica and I spoke, and Niki was in fact, correct. Jess’s husband, Ian, had played football as a young child, all throughout highschool, and had gotten a scholarship to play football at Bryant University. His uncles and cousins played football, with one even playing in the NFL for a number of teams. Each year, the football players of the family gather for a weekend to just watch football, together.  As someone who once had to use Wikipedia to learn the rules of football during a Superbowl Game, this seemed like a football family to me.

family of 6 sitting in living room together, all smiling, young black boy in red shirt, young black girl in yellow dress, black woman in cream sweater, black man in black shirt black teeanger in black shirt, young black boy in grey shirt
The Johnson Family at their home in RI Luke, Samantha, Jess, Ian, Anthony, Ethan

I met with Ian and Jessica and their 4 children on a Thursday afternoon, and while I had known Jess for 5 years through writing together on the Providence Mom team, it had been a while (and a whole pandemic) since we had seen other. I was a bit nervous, but she met me on the porch, and their son Ethen welcomed me into the home. I met their daughter Samantha next (along with her friend Olaf), and we all began to feel at ease.

You can see the whole interview below, but what I learned from Ian is that through playing football, he gained friends, insight, and connection.  He felt was it was like to be supported by his family, encouraged.  He learned what it felt like to give up during a game, and also learned that he didn’t want to feel like that in his marriage or with his children.  He learned that sometimes working towards something is a lot more nitty gritty practicing and a lot less “under the lights” big games (much like parenting, right?).

Ian Johnson, #17, before a game at Bryant University

Ian learned that football, like anything, is about what you put into it.  It changed his life for the better, and it made him the man, husband, and father that he is today.

We also learned that Samantha really likes football a lot, and that Anthony and Ethan would like to play football someday.  Luke is very content to continue watching with great game day snacks!

Ian’s last game at Bryant, with his Dad and Stepmom

Wondering where you can play some football locally? Check out the League Finder on the Future for Football Website. You can find leagues for flag football, tackle football, adult and youth, and co-ed. There’s never been a better time to play some football! You can also find Future for Football on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

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Brooke Rainville
Brooke has spent most of her life in Rhode Island, having grown up in Foster, and moving back to RI after high school in Foxboro, MA. Since becoming a foster parent in 2005, she has cared for 8 children with special needs. The first child placed in her home is now 22, and continues to both brighten and challenge her days. She is stepmom to two young children, who brighten and challenge her days in totally different ways. Brooke has worked with people with special needs for 17 years and currently works as a case manager for children with autism at a non-profit in Southeastern MA. She feels strongly that raising tiny, adorable beings up into functioning, kind, emotionally stable adults is hard, and we all, as mothers, aunts, stepmothers, foster mothers, friends, and grandmothers, have a role in making that easier for each other. Every child (and adult for that matter) we come into contact with will either be better or worse off for the experience, and we should take that seriously, while extending grace to those along with us on this journey. Brooke is passionate about serving others (although she sometimes struggles to do so cheerfully) and advocating for those who can not advocate for themselves. She loves Jesus, a well made gin and tonic, home renovation, and overlooking the dog hair on her floors.