I’ve said before I’m not the biggest fan of losing, though I’ve experienced it a lot over the years. But winning comes with it’s own torture as well.
This past weekend my youngest son’s high school freshmen team competed in their first 7on7 tournament. My son has been playing league 7on7 for several months with some of those boys so not all of them were completely inexperienced. The first game was a tight match for most of the 27 minutes played, but our team hit good fortune toward the end with an interception and subsequent touchdown to end it with a win.
The next two games, our team just steamrolled over the top of the competition. With every win the boys’ confidence grew, and some of them were acting and talking quite cocky. I warned them not to get too ahead of themselves. “Keep your heads down and stay focused,” I told them. The day wasn’t over yet. Well, game four came and went, and once again we were victorious.
During our quick lunch break the boys mood had changed. They actually seemed even more nervous than when they had started that morning. We were the only undefeated team left. The expectation of just go out and have a good time had slowly turned into a pressure cooker of finishing perfect. Many started voicing “what if” scenarios, which didn’t help the growing tension. Finally, because I’m that talkative mom, I told them. “Guys, nobody’s going to make you walk home if you lose. Just take it one game at a time. Dig deep, do your best, and win or lose, leave it on the field.”
The next game was the most intense by far. Usually I don’t do a whole lot of cheering during 7on7, but boy did we all come alive. It came down the very end with one of our players catching a nail-biting throw in the end zone in the final seconds of the game. Holy crap, we were still undefeated.
The last game somehow managed to feel even worse. It seemed to go by in dog years, but unbelievably the boys pulled it off. Their very first tournament playing together, they went undefeated. The only problem now, there’s a whole lot of football we still haven’t played. It makes me wonder how much more ratcheting tension can the boys take before they snap.