I just experienced one of the most important days in the life of my youngest son. It was his football team’s Super Bowl game. This year marked their 3rd trip in a row and this season has been one of their best. They went undefeated in the regular season and claimed victory to one playoff game. Unfortunately, the did NOT win the Super Bowl. Did they play hard? You bet. They pushed until the very end, creating a 0–0 tie on the scoreboard and forcing the game to go to OT (overtime). The team they played has been their rivals for the past 3 years.
This taught my son a very difficult lesson. No matter your record, you win some and you lose some.
His 10-year-old heart was broken. I, as his mother, struggled with understanding his brokenness, because to me it really is just a game. No one asks you as an adult if you won your little league SuperBowl when you were ten. I applauded his team spirit and his effort in the game.
I also applauded his coaches. Each one is a father/husband/significant other/employee who takes time away from their family and responsibilities to pour into my son and the other boys on the team. These coaches show them the importance of teamwork, sacrifice, defeat with hope, victory with grace and true character.
My son plays little league football because he loves the game, not because I see a future for him on a professional football team. He plays because I see the values that football or any other organized sport teaches. He’s learned respect for authority. He’s learned that your teammates need you to do your job. He’s learned that other adults, besides his mom and dad, really do care about him and his success.
Despite the fact that the score said his team lost, in my eyes, they won. They won by sticking together as a team. They won by showing appropriate emotions. They won because their coaches encouraged and celebrated them in defeat. They won because they see the examples of husbands, fathers and employees giving back. I hope that one day my 10-year-old will look back and see this as a win because of the lessons he learned from these men and from this game, not from the scoreboard.