Being on a losing team shows what you are made of

My sons high school football team is struggling this season and to be honest its been a while since we have been what anyone would call a strong program. I could give you a laundry list of excuses but I have no real idea what a laundry list even is. I am assuming that said same list is supposed to be long but I have no idea how you break that chore out into more than a few parts. Anyway, things on my child’s team are bumpy at the moment.

The only advice I can give him is to do your own job to the best of your ability any time you are in the game. I played on a less than stellar team for the very same school and my own personal philosophy was that I had roughly 60 scheduled fights and I was going to try and win every single one. So no matter the final outcome I would know that I did my job and whoever lined up across from me would know that we met.

The reason I wrote that title is because life deals many more losses than wins. How you react to and recover from a loss is your measure as a human being. So back to being a part of a team with a losing record… Staying an enthusiastic part of the group is the first hurdle. It is very easy to blame everyone and everything but yourself and just go through the motions or quit altogether.

Parents are no help in this matter. I got to watch last weeks game with some sad sack who wanted to do nothing but complain. I got the distinct impression that bad things just happen to him all the time and I wasn’t surprised that one of his major complaints was that the system was set up to prevent his child from getting playing time. Can’t be because you and your offspring sit around complaining while other kids are trying to get better…

Then he decided to get after the coaching staff and the head coach in particular. This is really the second hurdle when you are losing. Declaring that something is wrong with the coaching helps justify your shitty performance and or work ethic. Bad coach, bad season, no reason for me to even try. Except personal pride, intestinal fortitude, or just doing the right thing for yourself and your team. I had to walk away from the idiot and watch elsewhere lest I take out my fan frustrations on him.

I was already salty because he shoehorned himself in to the area where I like to crack wise with my friends. Once an interloper arrives things slow down until we discover who the stranger is related to on the field. This turd just jumped in and started complaining like we’ve been friends for years. If he tries to breach our smart-ass circle next game I am going to claim saved seats for phantom relatives. If he is within earshot I will remind him about some of the fine private institutions our area has to offer. That way you can pick your coach, offense, and defensive scheme. Alas, a tuition check will not guarantee playing time.

For the people in the stands me included complaints about the coaching and the officiating helps sooth the ache of a loss. For all of the same reasons described earlier plus more. “If only” or “why don’t they” makes one feel a little better but it doesn’t do squat for the boys if you spread it to one of them. When I speak to the boy about his game I try to keep it aimed at what he did well. Then I let him talk. He never takes things down the wrong road so there is no reason for me to change good behavior.

I’m writing this as a way to pull my own head out of my considerable hind quarters. I will still be a football mental patient because I love the game and want the best for the kids I know on the field. So I am going to keep watching the line as I’ve always done but now I’m going to cut out all on field commentary…

… only as it relates to the actual game. Everything else is fair. I’m not going to explain. To experience that bad behavior you need to sit near me and contribute yourself.

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