How a Beautiful Girl Humbled Me Last Night

The pursuit of mans desires are too often what cause wars and many a ruined life or at least an evening. It can build nations and ruins lives. And lately, I have begun to think the bible’s Eve of the Adam and Eve’s, has been treated unfairly.

History blames Eve as man’s failure, the temptress.  As a man, I must object. To me there is nothing more intoxicating and calming than a beautiful girl.

However, this story is not about that sweet nectarous tension that is wired into all of us to perpetuate the species.

It is only about a football game. A youth football game no less.  That game that grown men use to emulate war and embrace their warrior archetype.

Yesterday my boys walked into a battle and lost. As a pre-game motivator I said they would be going into hell. I didn’t know the horned one had a place just a bit worse. It was a brutally physical game. We lost a team leader for probably the rest of the season and a couple other players  were lost for the game.

Its at these moments that any father and MAN questions the mentality that would arrange for this dastardly  collaboration of wanton savagery.

The Game

As head coach I pride myself in noticing the little things in my coaches and players body language.

As the games outcomes became seemingly obvious, one of my coaches face turned from fierce competitor to somber acceptance. Even one of my team dads had this severely worrysome look on his normally cheerful demeanor. Yah it was one of those nights.

Adversity Reveals Your Character
I suppose maybe it is my eleven year volunteer coaching  career winding down that gets me pounding out these words. But most likely it is questioning my own character that is compelling me to write this story of still, a beautiful girl.

I have learned it is often in the losses that you need to reframe, find meaning, and build a team up. You see as any chance of hope was erased by an unforgiving clock, we would soon gather for a closing argument by yours truly.

But in that moment of vulnerability, where real emotion is mixed with articulation. Sometimes there is more emotion than anything useable for the kids.

A Teaching Moment

Defeat lays before us a gift wrapped life lesson. It is my choice to either speak from the gift, or from a defense of my own ego.

Just moments after such a game I can only say what comes from my heart. There is no pre-rehearsed speech. There is only the philosophy and a value system that had better be right long before the post game let down. Otherwise, I risk my egos need to justify my own pain.

Coach Jim Mora once told me that

coaching is not casual, it is no place for cool. If you are not physically and emotionally spent afterwards. Then you simply haven’t coached.”

I also, remember reading Pete Carroll‘s book “Win Forever” and how he teaches his assistant coaches that coaching is putting on a performance. I think Coach Carroll’s point is that performing allows you to coach on purpose. Where the true coaching is. The meaning of the speech is in the players reaction to it.

In order to do that requires a philosophy. A value system. And that is what I struggle with this morning as I write.

In that moment of defeat. In my own personal test did I open the wrapped gift for our players? Or did I blow this opportunity to serve me?

Closing Credits

So as we disbursed I stood there alone on the sideline. Not sure if you have ever been divorced, but when word gets out of the breakup, often times who you thought were your friends don’t want to talk with you. Its just too awkward. So you feel alone. That is kind of what its like as a head coach. I was all alone.

Even perhaps pathetic looking as this beautiful little girl of about ten walked up to me. My coaches daughter came right over to me in her cheer uniform and braids, she carefully smiled, and said, “Coach Tim, its OK, even I lose sometimes.”

I immediately felt the powers of the universe align into our two personal spaces.  She had given this night meaning and purpose.  She softened my warrior spirit into embracing the moment.  She capped it by giving me the best hug. As I was reminded that I just got done participating in what I tell the kids is God’s greatest game. As I have been doing for eleven years. Lucky me.

I hope I did the game and the kids the justice they deserve.

“Regardless of where football is played, it is a vehicle of development of the child in terms of life skills,” said Brown, 74. “The life skills are more important — and more applicable — because very few kids that start out in youth football end up playing in college or in the pros.”

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