My football teams are off to a tough start this season, prompting me to do a little thinking about the effect of an under-performing football team on one's personal productivity. Why write about this on "Family Fun Friday" when both my son's JV team and my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish are off to 0-3 starts this season? I lot of Irish fans aren't having much fun watching our team this season. Perhaps it's because I'm an eternal optimist! Also, I'm writing this as a reminder to myself to believe the pep-talks I've given my son this week to try to keep his spirits high – he is starting center on a team that's gotten sooo close to victory in each of the past three games they can taste it.
I've obviously never played football myself, but I think the sport makes a great metaphor for performing well in life. You need solid fundamentals, a team attitude, effective leadership and a will to win. Without these essential ingredients, you can have all the talent in the world and still not come through the victor in battle. More importantly, as in life, hopefully football is not always about the winning. It's frequently about the journey toward that end goal — the camaraderie of hours spent practicing together, the small improvements made week after week, and the ultimate sense of fulfillment when things finally do click and you come away with a victory. Sure, winning is fun, but hopefully real winners learn a thing or two about themselves from losing too.
I'm not one who gives up on my teams or starts to badmouth coaches or players when the going gets tough. That's why you'll find me cheering my son and his teammates on tonight in their high school contest, and why I have faith that the Irish will eventually come away with a win this season (although I'm not sure it will come tomorrow against Michigan State). In the mean time, I will continue to believe in both teams, to pray for their health and safety, and to learn from all of the hard work those guys put into their roles. They are all winners in my book, regardless of the scoreboard.