Learning determination, hard work, and self-truth in football

 

Football Mom is Right on the Money!

 Frequent readers have long learned that Pat’s Perspective is always open to comments, ideas and experiences that illustrate the lessons inherent in our Six Step Process.  Such is the following letter written to the local board of education by one of my very astute daughters – in – law.  This one is the mother of four beautiful young children, three of whom are excellent athletes, involved in grammar school level football, hockey and lacrosse.

Her comments are apropos of an event that occurred last weekend during one of the kids’ games.  A player suffered a compound fracture of his wrist.  As is the custom, the players left the field while the young man was attended to by coaches and EMS.

After about ten minutes, I made a comment about resuming the game.  You would have thought I had suggested cutting off the kid’s arm and putting him back on the field.  A mother sitting nearby made it very clear to me that it was a “very serious situation” and that the game could not continue until the ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital.

Her parting shot was “… how would you feel if that was your son out there?”  From the mom glares around me, it was clear where the sentiment was.   I did not respond that with three sons and two brothers, I had seen more broken bones, knee injuries, including mine in grammar school football – and emergency wards – than she will ever see – all without bringing the western world to a halt while the victim was attended to.  For once, I bit my tongue.

There is a price we will pay for depriving young men of an opportunity to grow and develop.

When you consider the “concussion issue,” there is a serious possibility that the politically correct path will eventually spell the death knell to all contact sports for young athletes.  While that may be acceptable to some, there is a price we will pay for depriving young men of an opportunity to grow and develop.

But, you don’t need me to tell you.  My daughter – in – law, who is also a teacher, says it far better than could I.

Public Education is invited to Football Tryouts 2013

One of my sons says to me, “Football is like no other sport I play.  I learn more in football than anywhere else.”

I attend a few nights of tryouts in attempts to observe what my accelerated academic son is articulating.

  • Drills include competition.
  • Drills include one against one.
  • Drills include challenge.
  • Drills include winners and losers.
  • Losers of drills take laps.
  • Losers of drills go to the end of the line until the next attempt.
  • Losers of drills do push-ups.

Players are provided directions.  When players don’t listen, they do push ups.  When players don’t listen, they run laps.  Players watch drills to learn what to do when up for their turn.  Players watch drills because they don’t want to do push ups and run laps.

  • Coaches yell things like, “Be loud!  This isn’t school!  This is the football field!”, when doing warm ups.
  • Coaches yell things like, ”You don’t want to be last!”, when running sprints.
  • Coaches yell things like, “If you can’t make the tackle, we can’t win football games!”, when scrimmaging.

If a player doesn’t listen to the count when running sprints, the team backs up and runs more distance.

Coaches speak truth about quality of play.  If the play sucked, the coach tells the players, “that sucked!  Run it again until you get it right!”  If the play was well executed, the team moves on to the next skill needed.

Push ups, laps, and sprints are not fun.  Coaches do not concern themselves with needing to be fun.  In fact, one coach asked in practice, “Is anyone bored?”  When an eight year boy raised his hand, he was told to run a lap.

Numbers are down in football.  Maybe it is all of the concussion media as of late.  Maybe it is that mothers fear injuries.  Maybe it is that boys today simply find it hard.

Education concerns itself with self-esteem without valuing achievement as the seed which nurtures self-esteem.

For this mother, my sons are learning determination, hard work, and self-truth in football.  This arena is teaching my sons lessons that I feel are somewhat lost in education today.  Educators are required to spend more time teaching our youth how to emotionally handle being last than pushing them to want being first.  Education today worries more about being PC with our criticism instead of valuing truth and honesty in our message for the purpose of personal growth.  Education is donating endless instructional hours to the topic of bullying rather than understanding how to create authentic strength in individuals.  Education concerns itself with self-esteem without valuing achievement as the seed which nurtures self-esteem.

When football players hear the count correctly and run the sprints together, they understand what it means to work as a team.  When individuals make their tackles in a game, the team wins.  Middle school has numerous team building days.  What does a middle school team achieve together?  Is watching Dolphin Tale together an achievement?  Is playing Bingo together an achievement?

If an individual is working to his or her potential, the group benefits as a whole.

Football builds teams.  It does this through challenging individuals through honesty and competition.  It does this through hard work and achievement.  It does this through the understanding that if an individual is working to his or her potential, the group benefits as a whole.

Football is a risk.   Do the lessons learned on a football field outweigh the risk? This mother feels they do. For where else might our youth find these lessons today?

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