Today you taught me another lesson about football.
After a long, hard battle, you lost your first game of the season. A season of success. A season of growth. A season of bringing new fans to a game.
I have cherished every moment watching you grow. I have enjoyed every second of every game. (Even when I can’t breathe, because things are that intense.)
This loss means you won’t be playing for the championships next week. It means your season is over.
It does not mean that we are not all super proud of you. In fact, in this game, you managed to do what I have watched you try to do so hard all year. Throw passes for completion.
I know how hard you’ve worked for that. Now that you’re 10, you can’t just sneak through the line of scrimmage with a pass off every time. You practiced on the playground. You practiced at home with dad. And you practiced every night of the week.
The passes you threw today were incredible. You and another student from our class connected for the longest throw I’ve seen from someone your age, in your league.
After the game, you all walked off the field in tears. One mom took her son aside to calm him down, but your parents had coaching business to take care of. After telling another student “good game” and getting a smile out of him and his mom, as well as consoling a student from a different class, I looked for you.
You have been insistent on me learning this game. On me attending this game. On me enjoying this game. Seeing you cry about it? About killed me.
I told you that you had NOTHING to be disappointed in yourself for. You nodded, but I’m not convinced that you really believed me. There’s a ton of pressure on a quarterback, and I think it’s easy for people to forget that you are only ten. You expect perfection from yourself in every aspect of life; not only on the field, but off the field in class and at home. And when you don’t achieve perfection, you become frustrated with yourself.
I told you that if anything, you needed to be proud of yourself. For accomplishing what you’d been working on all year. Those passes were beautiful. And perfect. And next year? You’ll just be bigger, stronger and better.
All three of you need to know something. In life, there are losses that crush us to the core. This may be one of them, but I know that you will walk away as better individuals. All three of you need to know that our community is full of pride. You three need to know that next year? I plan to coach or become involved in some other way (photography perhaps?). This is something I would NEVER have expected to say. Until six weeks ago, football was a sport I didn’t understand. And was determined I would never enjoy.
Thank you for changing my opinion and teaching me to love something new.
~Your teacher for now, who is dreading the day I have to leave