In sports, there’s more to losing than just numbers on a scoreboard. It does something to the players themselves. And if players experience enough repeated shellackings, the necessary inner believe in oneself needed for winning can be completely stripped away. This is where my oldest son’s football team found themselves this week. After nearly a month of nothing but losses, really, really bad losses, they were down three touchdowns and only five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
I couldn’t bare it anymore. The indifferent attitude of the players and the parents saying things like “Good try” when they weren’t trying at all had the overly competitive person I used to be as a kid ready to rear its ugly head. I’ve kept that negative side me bottled up for so many years now it would have been awful if I had let it loose. And don’t misunderstand—my son would have gotten the brunt of it since he was playing like crap as well.
With four minutes left, one of our boys returns a kick-off for a touchdown. Then, less than a minute later, they recovered a fumble and ran that in for a touchdown. The lift in mood out on the field was so palpable the boys glowed brighter than the stadium lights. Finally, they believed. Playing far more intense than they had the entire game, they recovered another fumble. And what do you know—they managed to get another touchdown, taking the lead by running into the end zone for the extra point.
We not only shocked that team, we shocked ourselves, which only proves how vital a positive mindset is. The boys were always capable of winning. Their attitudes kept getting in the way. Here’s hoping they bring that miraculous mental change to the next game.