Our local high school football team has had a difficult year. After losing many players to graduation, the team finished 1 and 9 and last in their league.
I wondered how the coach, accustomed to winning, could make the season a positive one for the kids, to focus them on getting better and give them confidence that next year they would be a year older and better.
I was thinking about this because my son’s youth soccer team went through a similar situation this fall. Due to a realignment of our club teams, my son’s team was composed of the less-good players from two other teams. Our team also had a brand-new coach and a brand-new assistant.
And we finished the season with 0 wins, 7 losses and 1 tie.
But our record wasn’t the story of the season. Each kid improved week to week, and our team got better and better each game. The second games we played against each team were much closer than the first. And, throughout, our coaches continued to teach. They were able to convey to the kids confidence and pride. The kids played hard throughout the year, and throughout each game. And they had fun. After the last game, when we lost 5-1 after being tied 1-1 at halftime, the kids laughed and hugged and piled onto their coach.
I don’t know at age 9 whether I would have been able to handle adversity like our kids did this year. I was pretty competitive (still am), and hated to lose. I know there were times when if my team lost, I lost it. I really admire our kids, and salute their coaches, and I will always remember this season… fondly. If that makes any sense.