Being homeschooled and having my dad in the military made it hard to play sports. Always moving around made it nearly impossible too. All the local teams you had to be part of their school to be on the team. It wasn’t until my dad got out of the military and we settled down in California that I got to play football. I started playing when I was twelve in a city league. I’d known nothing previously about football besides watching a game here and there with my dad and knowing you had to run the ball to the end zone. I’m writing this to show what you really learn from playing sports. Here are my top 5 things playing football taught me.
1. Never give up
Like I previously stated I knew nothing about football which was kind of problematic since I was currently in pads running around a field for a couple of hours. I’m going, to be honest, I wasn’t very good… like at all. I wasn’t really in the best of shape either. I dedicated my life to football though. I stopped drinking soda and eating any sweets. Instead, I started running every day for a mile. Started out running 12-minute miles but I knew I could do better. I was one of the slowest kids on the team. I ran and ran and ran until I could run a 5-minute mile. By the end of the season, I was the fastest on the team. I practiced drills at home and studied my plays. I was learning and getting better instead of giving up like the rest of the kids who were the weakest links at the beginning of the season.
2. ALWAYS BE ON TIME
When you’re younger time doesn’t really matter to you.. Until you’re running up and down a loose dirt hill for being late that is. You’re part of a team and that means you need to be reliable and on time. You’ve made a commitment to be there and you need to be there and this is something you take into your adult life. Be on time or there will be consequences and a lot of extra laps.
Of course, whether it’s sports or work, having good teamwork is always important. You can really see the difference when there are good communication and teamwork amongst each other. For example my first year of football a lot of people wouldn’t show up for practice (including the coach) and everyone just fought all the time amongst each other. I’m sure you can tell but we didn’t win many games that year.
Skip ahead to my third year of football and we had a new coach. He was dedicated to the team and teaching us life skills and how to better ourselves and he asked the same of us. We all worked together and instead of fighting amongst each other we built off of one another and bettered ourselves as a team should. We worked as a team and we relied on each other out on the field. We’d go on to win almost every game that season and I took a lot away from it.
4. You can always get better
Jumping back to my third year I was first string offense, defense, and special teams. Why? Because I didn’t give up and I improved upon myself. My coach called me his “Golden boy” which gave me kind of a big head. Which is debatable on whether that’s good or bad. The good that came out of it was I had to always be improving and getting better and stronger. Everyone wanted to be the best on the team but frankly, there can only be one. There was always somebody else trying to be better than me and I had realized that. That realization kept me on my toes and always improving.
5. You’re not always going to win
Everyone wants to win and if they say they don’t they’re lying to you. Nowadays everyone gets an “award” whether it be for participation or whatever they decide to give you. That doesn’t teach kids how to lose. People are growing up not knowing what it’s like to actually lose and that feeling of being defeated. That feeling is what people use to strive to get better. It’s important that kids are taught that so that they strive to get better and that’s something I’ll always take away from football and apply to my life.