This year, my son's football team is "winning challenged". We have played six games and lost every one.
Some we have lost by a landslide. Some we have lost in a down to the wire dogfight. Regardless, we have lost every game.
The boys are good kids. They work hard. Despite their less than desirable record they still show up to practice eight hours each week.
We have a variety of athletes on our team. Some are fast. Some are strong. Some have a good arm and some have a good understanding of the game. There are even some who still don't know exactly what is going on, but they still show up.
But this week I had an Oprah "Ah Ha!" moment. What matters most was suddenly crystal clear.
We may be losing, but we need to focus on what is important. Despite our record, each player is valued. As long as the players show up and put their heart in, they deserve to play in the games.
They are part of the team.
Every game, the coaches make certain all twenty six players have time on the field. Rather than field the best eleven and have most of those boys play both ways (sport talk for offense and defense), they rotate the boys in. Our team doesn't have 14 kids playing 95% of the game and 12 kids playing 5% of the game.
Many teams don't share that system of play.
Foul language is not permitted and the players are expected to be respectful. The boys don't bully and they don't blame each other for a loss.
We have kids on the team who get out on the field and are confused. They line up in the wrong position. Those boys have teammates who move them where they need to be.
This is because their coaches told them who needs the help.
There is something to be said for coaches who value the kids on their team. There are many coaching mentalities, and the best come with putting the players first. When players are valued by their coaches, they are also valued by each other. They learn by example.
I wish all parents had this same experience for their munchkins.
Every team represents their town, their families and themselves. A winning record might be good on paper, but character is what wins in the long run. And if winning games is our biggest challenge, than I would say we have it easy.
Our team has already won where it matters.