This is an old unpublished post that I wrote after a playoff game I watched in 2012. Not sure why I never published it, but after seeing the end result of the Minnesota/Seattle game I thought it would be timely to share. While the focus in this post is on my son (because at the time of the writing he wasn’t yet talking) this is a lesson that can be shared with a son or daughter – it certainly isn’t gender specific. Enjoy.
What I Will Tell My Son
This dad thing is the most difficult job I have ever undertaken. It
is cliche, but it is the most important job as well. I am viewing life
through new lenses – past choices, current situations, new lessons.
I have a daughter with whom I speak to about choices frequently. I
have a son who is learning to laugh and crawl. We don’t “talk” yet,
but I still talk to him. I talk to him about a lot of things. He nods,
grins, and drools, but I wonder about when he actually needs me to
talk. What will I say?
Lessons from the Gridiron.
My son and I recently had an afternoon to ourselves. We watched
the Championship football games. The winners determined the
participants in the Super Bowl – the stakes were high and the teams
were great. Well, one game went into overtime and the other was a
field goal away from going into overtime. The latter game caught
my attention. I always feel bad for kickers. They never get the
respect they are due, yet they get to shoulder the yoke of
responsibility for many games that are lost. This albatross of
responsibility is not tailored for their scrawny (relative to some of the
defensive lineman) shoulders.
I watched amazed when this kicker shanked, what he would later
deem a routine kick, a 30 yard field goal. I watched in agony as
they replayed the kick over and over again – broadcasting the
uncensored reaction of his teammates. The shock in their eyes
mixed with sympathy. If the eyes are indeed the windows to the
soul, then their windows revealed the swirling bittersweet storm that
raged inside. Teammates are great, but they are only human. If
they were mad – they didn’t let on. The disappointment and
What if that was my son?
I wondered what I would say to my son if he were the kicker. I
would tell him to keep kicking. That game wasn’t lost with a field
goal. There were other opportunities both offensively and
defensively to win that game and if you listened to the kickers’
teammates after the game, whether they meant it or not, they
admitted as such.
I would want my son to take responsibility for his part, but no more.
In the same way I wouldn’t want him to take all the glory if they won
a game on a field goal, he shouldn’t blindly accept the goat horns in
I guess that is the teachable moment for us all. Humility is a virtue
to hold onto whether you win or lose. I had a coach who always
preached – never too high, never too low. You can’t give yourself
too much credit in victory or defeat.
Is it possible for one man to lose a game in a team sport? We live
in a society that loves to pick and display scapegoats. I don’t want
my son (or daughter) to learn this. When he makes a mistake I don’t want him to
wait on the next person to make one so that his will be forgotten.
Teammates pick each other up. Teammates set each other up –
win or lose. Ahead or behind.
Ultimately, you can only control what you do – what effect you have
on the team. Whether you are ahead or behind, you just have to
stay humble and keep on kicking.