I’m just here to tell you that there is literally nothing that’s made me more emotional this fall than watching my son partner up with the varsity football team. Wait. I’m not the only mom that cries at football games … am I?
And yes I did cry. But that’s not the point! About mid-season, CJ was asked to move up from his beloved JV team to varsity to start in the guard position. I still cannot fathom how my very lean and tall man-child can ‘pancake’ kids seemingly twice his size. But he does. And he’s quite good at it. And yes I am so freaking proud of him.
I have to be honest and share that until this very day, I did not know the record of our varsity squad. Apparently, I’m just not that mom. I rarely remember the score. I have to look at the roster six or seven times a game and sometimes I don’t know who we’re playing until the day prior.
I did, however, know that we were playoff-bound a few days prior to selection Sunday. So exciting! We learned that we would travel to Portland (not nearly as cool as the one in Oregon. and for as much as they tout sportsmanship while we’re standing there in the blowing and close-to-freezing rain, I’m not so sure it’s a trait they can own. #truthbomb).
You know what would have been awesome? A win. But alas, it was not our night. I got teary as the boys walked towards us at the end of the game knowing that for several of them, it was their last high school football game. And CJ looked sad. And that is something I cannot handle.
Losing sucks. It just does. But I would like to offer that even in loss, there are wins to be found. And that’s not me being all rose-colored glasses. It’s about how we write the headlines.
One way to frame up Friday night might be, ‘Hopkins Varsity loses in a freaking rain storm to a school that actually could be entered from a dirt road. That was very muddy.’ Or, another way to consider it, ‘Hopkins Varsity kids demonstrate class, bravery and an abundance of heart in a well-played first-round playoff game.’
See how that works?
I have been thinking about this all season though. Sure, there is a win-loss record (apparently we were 5-5) but there are the wins that happened at every game in the midst of every quarter and even every play. I think about the kids on the team that had personal records this year whether it was in yards rushed, points scored or times they rubbed the ball on the grass to get it wet prior to a kick-off. That was my favorite.
But there were also those moments that don’t get counted that matter more. I saw kids who lifted each other up; same jersey color or otherwise. I saw coaches who high-fived their players every time they came off the field; good play or otherwise. I saw trainers who loved on our kids facing injuries. I saw volunteers man the chains on the sidelines giving us a heads-up on what might have occurred play-by-play. I saw refs … well, I just saw refs. I don’t know what those people do. I saw volunteers host fifth quarter events so our kids have a safe place to go after the game.
I also saw parents who care so deeply about our kids that they cater meals (and special shout-out to my sweet friend, Amanda, who continued to provide gluten-free options for CJ after he was moved up. he continued to attend JV games and serve as water boy, trainer (#notencouraged) and personal motivator. she baked him cookies for the last game and i assured him that he should never anticipate such creativity from his own mom.) and paint helmets and dance along with cheerleaders. I saw a dad cradle his boy after a rough game and when I think about what that dad has been through this past year and the beauty he must find in being able to hold his boy well, there isn’t much that gets better than that.
I share all of this because I’ve had to dig deep to find my own wins as well. Many weeks I feel like I’m facing a losing battle with my own dang self. I’m such a stubborn butthole. But I look back at the small shifts and even though I also feel about 5-5, I can see where these minute victories occurred in each match and I have to celebrate where I can. Because this season is (cuss word) hard. And I bet that some of you feel the same. We’re all in some kind of season right now. And maybe yours is hard, too. Let me simply say first, ‘i’m so sorry. i wish i could hug you.’
But I want to encourage you, too. Look back. See how God has been faithful. See how he’s used people to step into your pain and offer something so sweet at just the perfect time (thanks other football moms for the knowing and the kindness). See how you’ve had these little wins in the midst of the loss. I promise you that you have. And I’m 100% here to know about them if you want to share because there is nothing that reminds me of how faithful that good, good Father is than to know how my people are winning. Just consider for a moment what other headlines you could write. Can we tell the story differently?
We can. And I ask that you just keep going. Knowing you keep going helps me to keep going. And I promise a loss, even if it’s in giant red numbers on a score board, isn’t the only barometer of how you did. But if my hands are, we’re in trouble. I just started feeling my fingers again today.
So, until next season, thanks to everyone who gave anything to our kids to make football the ongoing story that it is in our sweet little town. You’re all the heroes and real deals and I’ll try harder to keep track of the things next year. And you’ve reminded me of how often we actually win. P.S. #54. You’re my favorite. ❤