The high school football season is upon us here where I live. First, I need to say how grateful I am that the leaders in my state and local government have decided to let the kids play during this pandemic. They need it and, quite frankly, I need it, too.
Sadly, our high school lost its first game of the season this week. The game actually started out on a positive note. We scored in the first few seconds of the game and even scored again before the first quarter was over. But the game turned sour in the second quarter. Not because of the refs, though I’m sure there are many boys on the team today who are thinking that. No, the boys, now full of pride, began to boast and taunt the other team. Flags flew, un-sportsman like conduct and other personal fouls started to be handed out at almost every down. Every hard-fought yard we gained only ended up being swallowed by first the boasting penalties, then the poor attitudes that grew as our opponent passed us on the scoreboard. As spectators, the team melted down before our eyes. It was disheartening.
I asked my youngest son as we walked back to our vehicle after the game what he learned by watching the spectacle.
“I don’t know. I learn more by playing the game than watching it. What was I supposed to learn?”
I tried not to rolled my eyes at his typical boy response. “Do you think all those personal fouls were a good thing?”
“No, it kept pushing them backwards on the field so they couldn’t get a first down and had to kick the ball away to the other team.”
“Yes, it did.” I was thrilled he at least paid enough attention to grasp that. “What could our team have done differently to avoid them?”
“I don’t know. I guess stop talking back all the time.”
I almost raised my hands in the air with hallelujah excitement. “Exactly. Remember this moment and always be aware of your attitude on the field. It is the one thing you always have control over. Games are never won by words, so be a player of action.” Or so help me, he might one day see his mother walking onto the field to remove him by his ear if he ever tries to get mouthy in a game.