Football and Life’s Lessons

For Superbowl Sunday here is an inspiring memory about football posted by my husband.

We were stretching and doing our calisthenics in the end zone preparing for the game. The first of our football playoffs, with expectations to sail on through to our second championship in a row. We were well coached, a very good team and we knew it. Just the week before we had completed the regular season with a one-sided victory against the same team we were about to play.

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on

Our coach, a true leader and teacher of people – I will never forget him! He is somewhat of a folk hero and was even known in the pro-league. His aspirations had nothing to do with pro-sport however, as he saw coaching football as simply another avenue where he could teach young men life’s lessons – right and wrong. He believed that winning and losing was never important as long as we prepared and played the game with respect, dignity and pride – funny how we won often!

Somehow something slipped that day! I remember seeing our coach running towards us in the endzone as we were completing our jumping-jack repositions (reps). Waving his arms frantically and calling out; but he was too late and the damage had been done. For some reason, and I will never know how or why, at the end of each countdown of the jumping-jacks, we started shouting out disparaging remarks about the other team – let’s just say taunting the team’s lack of football talent which could be heard across the entire field. We knew better but we were young men, immature and with much still to learn.

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That day the football gods exercised their revenge – our opponent hit harder, tackled better and played with more purpose and passion than ever before, winning the game on route to their first championship in years. We had definitely inspired them – we were devasted!

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Following our aftergame prayer, our coach, with his positive energy and a satisfied smile on his face, praised us for a terrific season and how proud he was to have served as our leader – ending with his usual phrase; “we win with dignity and lose with pride” making no mention of the incident. Nothing needed to be said as he knew that the education we received that day could not have been taught better in any classroom, forum or lecture.

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Forty five years later I still think of this man and the things he taught me. Whenever watching sporting events, like I will with today’s Superbowl, I’m always hoping that when scoring, players will, as the phrase goes; “act like they have been there before” and when losing, players will hold their head high ready to shake the winner’s hand – that is true character and the lesson I learned.

Photo by Lucas Andrade on

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