Sunday, November 27, 2011

Football – Winning even when you Lose

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Today’s Blog Post

Football – Winning even when you Lose

The Colourful Sign at the end of the football field seemed to say it all. Our team had lost. It was all over… no more football practices... no more travel Saturdays or days during the week to run across town to be there supporting our team. Football season was over. Our team was beaten in this last game.

As I took the photo of the big sign declaring the victory for the other team there was great cheering from the east end of the field. The Arnprior Redmen were shouting and raising an all-out ruckus with their victory. Their friends and relatives were squeezed around them for the photo of a life time. They were the winners of this last and top football game for all of Ontario’s AA High School Championship. They were the best of all the best of all the High Schools of their division.

As I turned back to the west end of the football field there was an entirely different thing happening. The Peterborough Adam Scott football team was standing in one long row of players with their arms linked around each other’s waist. They had their football helmets on and they linked with each other in one last expression of togetherness. Defeated but still supporting one another. They were quiet and still strong. They didn’t face west or south or north.. they faced to the east and could see the Victors raising the their helmets and hear them giving their roars of victory… over and over again.

This photo caught the spirit of this Adam Scott Team.

They had worked hard together in their practices. They had played very hard and had succeeded in most of their games all season long. They had won their division’s top position by beating the best. They had also won the local championship by beating the very best and a reportedly much stronger team than they were. But today they had lost the top place for the entire Province… and they were still together! This is their Team.

I took one more photo that caught the leadership factors that had been active all season. This tells another important part about the heart of this team.

As I zoomed in on my Grandson Clifford to take a close-up of him linked to his fellow players, the Quarterback standing beside him unlinked his arms and began to clap. His team mates followed suit and they declared what real winners are all about… they still could say thank you… and clapping their hands seemed to help.

Within a few minutes the Adam Scott Team had unlinked arms and moved further to the west end of the field. Parents and family along with school friends that had traveled the three hours… closed in on these big strong, strapping players. Helmets were coming off and the tears were falling. Eyes were red and the majority of these guys couldn’t hold it back. They were crying from deep within their being.

Big strong, almost full grown men, were wiping away tears and being hugged by the ones that were the closest to them.

The Quarterback, who is perhaps the tallest on the team, was bending down in his full football outfit and crying in the arms of his Grandma, who was much shorter.

Clump after clump of players were being embraced by their supporters.

The din of the Victory celebration had faded further away down the field and our team was being supported by those that understood.

I had a lump in my throat and my big tall Grandson came over and gave me a big hug with all his armour on.

This is football.

Some folks wonder at the students taking so much of their time to play a game like this. Shouldn’t they be studying and placing more time in their school work? After all the next stage of life is coming fast and furious? They will not be getting their next opportunity for University and places in life if they waste time grunting, pushing, and playing silly football that will mean little in five years’ time.

Some folks I know think this is a waste of time… completely. But I completely disagree.

Over this past season I have listened to what my Grandson Clifford has been sharing with me. He talks about his coach a lot. He tells me what his coach has said. He quotes his coach over and over again..

His coaches have met him and his fellow players on their day off. They have put hours and hours into these kids. They have been perhaps the best thing that may have happened to young strapping men in teaching them the value of working together. In sharing leadership and character building within good sportsmanship… these coaches were simply amazing.

Yet I have never met the coaches personally. I never sat in their classes or had coffee with them. I only heard what they had said through one of their players.

If you could fast forward the time line about 15 to 25 years… the strong young men standing linked together will likely the become the best Life Coaches within their future worlds and life. These guys have caught the best of life right now… and will teach it forever to whole new generations long after I am gone.

On Friday night when I picked up my Grandson from football practice he told me a truth that few would know. He said, “It was a sad practice tonight for a lot of the guys. This was the last practice we will have together before some of them leave the team.”

About seven of the older and more experienced team members were leaving for University and College and the rest of their lives. There were some deep feelings from guys that really care about each other. Clifford had felt that deeply the night before the big game.

On Saturday afternoon at the west end of the field… the tears were not about losing… it was more about the deep care that they had for each other… about real team spirit that was not going to happen again. An era was over and they would all move on to the best things that would ever happen.

The coaches knew it and so did the families.

I am an observer. I watch people and think a lot about what I see.

What I saw yesterday may have been the greatest moment and scene I have witnessed for a long, long time.

Thank you coaches and players for giving this old man a glimpse of the future. I may not be there when it actually happens… but I appreciate so much what I have witnessed!

Hey Teenagers… I believe in a great future for all of you. WOW!

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While the football game was going on I met up with some fellow Grandpas that I knew. These guys and myself, in our younger years, worked together on projects by helping kids in the communities we lived in.

Word had came to me that their grandsons were on the Redmen Football Team and that our grandkids would be playing each other at this championship game. They were going to be at the big game.

The one Grandpa confided in me that the Adam Scott Team was regarded as the best team in Ontario. They had chalked up an almost a legendary record. It was felt that they would possibly win this game. The Redmen knew that they were meeting a very large and good opponent – the Adam Scott Lions.

The large cheers from the east end was a super relief… they had won a game against the best in Ontario

~ Murray Lincoln ~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was one of the friends of the team on the east side of the field, snapping the victory shots and I turned and caught the scene at the other end.. I was touched by that site too... great sportsmanship... a lot of nice people from the Adam Scott camp too...