Dear Kid,

Have you ever noticed that football players are extremely athletic? Of course you have. Have you noticed that they have lots of muscles? Again, of course.

So why is it that these strong humans are incapable of drinking water on the sidelines by themselves?

My friend Sue asked this important question and since I’m that kind of friend I knew I needed to provide an answer.

Of course my first thought was to ask you, but you weren’t available (because you were helping a football player drink water).

I asked Dad. He speculated that football players don’t have good aim through their helmets. (Insert potty jokes about boys having bad aim.)

So I turned to My Friend the Internet for answers. (I don’t know why anyone goes to college anymore when all the answers—both accurate and fictional—are available with a couple of clicks.)

Turns out there are a variety of “reasons” for spoon-feeding football players.

Dad was partly right. Helmets, facemasks, and shoulder pads can make it difficult for even the most gifted of athletes to squirt water into their own mouths. Gatorade, meet cheek. Not sure how that’s different from hockey players who seem to be able to drink without help.

Another “reason” is that football players are intensely focused on the game and can’t concentrate and drink water at the same time. Again, not sure how that differs from hockey. In fact, with the quick line changes, it might be even more relevant in hockey.

The next possibility is that receivers don’t like getting their gloves wet from condensation. This is especially important during games when it’s raining.

Or possibly, as the Chief Watering Source, athletic trainers can be sure that players are staying hydrated. Because football players are the only athletes that need to stay hydrated but can’t be counted on to drink enough.

The most plausible explanation is the sheer number of players on a football team (at last count, 7,892 for away games) and the size of area where the players can be (big). By controlling the racks of water bottles, athletic trainers can make sure the bottles are filled and available (as opposed to being thrown on the ground after a sip or two).

But I think the real reason is probably that their massive hands would crush the delicate water bottles.

Love, Mom