(If you haven’t read last week’s blog entry, Filling The Gaps, it might be a worthwhile prologue to this one. I’ve linked this entry at the end of that so you can easily find your way back.)
|Our son in motion. Even though the photograph is an overall disaster, I like how he is looking at the play, and how his lower leg and the number on his shoulder are almost the only things in focus.
My son’s varsity football team has been struggling, and when I say struggling I mean they have not won a “real” game since the 2009 season, when they won one. I’m not sure how long it has been since they had a winning season but I can say the culture of LOSER predates my son by years if not decades.
As this 2013 season began, hopes were high with a great core group of guys and an enthusiastic, dedicated coach in his second year.
We lost the first two games by substantial margins.
Wait. How can this be, we all wondered. We know our boys have the talent to win.
We gathered in the visitor’s stands for the start of the week three game against a school with a 2-0 record. The previous Friday they beat a team that historically beats us. Our sturdy group of parents and loyal fans were united by valiant hope tempered with realistic expectations.
On Friday, September 13, we watched a group of young men begin to believe.
Our team scored twice, early. At halftime, we were ahead 20-6. You would have thought we were winning the state championship the way we acted. But we worried. Could they keep up that momentum? Would they be resilient through the second half when many of them were playing both sides of the ball, without much opportunity to rest? More importantly, were they finally mentally strong enough to know that they had earned the right to win?
In the fourth quarter we were losing 24-20. With a bit more than three minutes on the clock, we took possession of the ball and scored a quick, impressive touchdown. At this moment in the game, you would have thought we were winning the Superbowl! With three minutes on the clock, the score was 26-24 in our favor.
Our guys wanted this win badly and we were right there with them.
Those last minutes were filled with elation and terror as we watched our defense continue to work the magic that had eluded them for years. With less than a minute to go, our team got to take a knee twice to wind down the clock.
Senior players went to the ground in tears. They have worked within our program for four years, essentially winless. Finally, for them, the pieces have come together to give them a taste of success.
Winning and success aren’t everything, but every person wants a little reward for effort occasionally, and I don’t mean in the “every kid gets a trophy” category. I mean the moment when the clock goes to 0:00 with your team in the lead, or the scratch of the pen when the contract your business has fought to win for months gets signed, or the day the person you’ve been taking care of gets a clean bill of health.
None of us are promised daily victory. Most of us are probably better off without it. But when every contest is a struggle to once again get the L, it can come down to how badly do you want to win?
Do you believe?
If you aren’t an egomaniac, you might need a little reminder, so here it is. It is more than ok to believe in yourself. It is absolutely necessary.