I’m a football mom. And a pretty proud one at that.
My 13 year old son is finishing up his 6th football season and in my years of being on the sidelines, I have observed that the football field is a fantastic place to learn some important life lessons. There are many takeaways from the game that my son can carry throughout life – both onto future football fields and off into other areas of his life.
Takeaway #1: You have never won a game all by yourself and you have never lost a game all by yourself. And you never will. My husband has stressed this with our son this year. He had the opportunity to score on several occasions, but he doesn’t let that go to his head. When he makes a mistake on the field, however, he is very hard on himself. But on the football field, you can’t do any of it alone. Both the successes and the failures are the result of how the team works as a whole. If each offensive player doesn’t understand and carry out his role on the field, the play will fail. If each defensive player doesn’t fulfill the responsibilities of his position, the opposing team can very easily make big and fast gains. You are only as strong as your weakest link. This saying applies to so many areas of life – in any situation where there is more than one person working toward a goal.
Takeaway #2: The success and the demeanor of a team is a direct reflection of its leadership. I believe this is one of the strongest lessons that my son has learned thus far. If the coaches work together and stress teamwork and brotherhood, hard work and commitment, respect and dedication, the team will emulate those things. If the coaching staff is divided and doesn’t teach respect or demonstrate how to respect others, and if the coaches don’t stress teamwork and brotherhood, it is directly reflected by the team as well. My son will tell you: It is so much more enjoyable to go to practice and to play in games with the first group of coaches leading your team. It is so much more fun and rewarding to play with a team that has been encouraged and led to become brothers. And I can tell you: this applies to all of life. It is so much more rewarding to work for, or to be in any type of relationship with, people who are encouraging, who demonstrate respect, who are willing to work together, who are equally dedicated to the project or relationship.
Takeaway #3: You can’t pick your coaches and you can’t pick your teammates, but you can pick what your attitude will be. There will be seasons when you will have a difficult coach or a teammate who is hard to get along with, but how you handle it will speak volumes about your character. If you show respect and patience, it will pay huge dividends in the end. Others will see who you are in the attitude you portray and how you carry yourself in difficult situations. If you get mad and throw a temper tantrum, it will be hard to overcome the negative reflection that has on your character. If you show honor to others even when they aren’t honoring you, you can be sure that people won’t forget that either. How do you want people to remember you?
I think it’s pretty obvious how this can be applied to every other area of life as well.
I love football. I am so glad my son loves football. I am so grateful that my son has had the opportunity to play for some coaches who have nurtured his love for football and who have helped him grow and develop through the game. This will carry over throughout his football “career,” but more importantly it will carry over in some way into the rest of his life.