Football and Life

Monday, August 15th, 2011, Written by jackrosenberger

As I sit and watch the first pre-season game, I am reminded of some of the important lessons football, like all sports can teach us.  Having said that, I know some people will not agree with any, much less all of what I say.  They will protest football’s violence and tolerance of behaviors we might describe as less than gentlemanly.  That said, acknowledging that I do not have the power to change the game, I think participating in this sport or honestly any team sport, either as a fan or a player on whatever level, can teach us some very necessary lessons about life:

1.  You have to prepare for the game.
The lockout did not demand that all the players train as much as they should before the season.  It will become very obvious who is ready and who is not.  Injuries and sub-par performance will point an accusing finger at those players who did not train as hard as they should.  The same is true in life.  If you don’t study, you probably won’t do that well on the exam.  If you don’t work on yourself, you don’t bring your best self to your work or your relationships.  We have to train as if the Superbowl is on the line.

2.  For the things that matter, you really get one chance.
Once the ball is snapped, the quarterback has to make a decision.  There is no reset button.  This is how sports can be superior to video games.  Like in life, you don’t get a second chance.  My patients that have driven under the influence of chemicals often learn at an agonizing price, that there are no “do-overs.”

3.  You have to play as a team.
Yes, each athlete on the field is responsible for his performance.  But those teams where the players work well together, always outperform the ones with one star and everyone else giving it only 50%.  Families are the same way.  A family cannot function with a taking care of number one attitude.  The same is true of marriages.  Life becomes richer and more rewarding when we look out for each other.  Being social creatures, we NEED each other.  Relationships are not optional.  We need each other to survive.

4.  Football has refs for a reason.
More importantly, the players have to submit to their authority.  The same is true of life.  We all need some kind of authority to which we submit our own wills.  This discipline by itself brings great rewards.  It is the basis of physical fitness, academic achievement and happiness in our marriages.  I’m not saying that we should be “people pleasers”.  But perhaps it is necessary that we acknowledge that we don’t know everything.  Indeed, we can be wrong.

5.  We don’t always get what we want.
Internalizing this small fact can make us wise.  The myth that we can always get the latest or perceived best of anything brings chaos to an individual’s life or that of a nation.  Sometimes we lose.  This truth must be accepted if we are to become people worth knowing and not just large, obnoxious babies.  Even if we manage to get much of what we want in life, none of us live on this earth forever.  This does not mean that death makes life meaningless.  Rather, death gives life its urgency to be lived well, fully, and intentionally.

These are just a few of the necessary lessons about life than one can learn from football.  I could write many more.  But perhaps the most important thing is to become more conscious of Truth that is trying to present itself to us where ever we are, whatever we are doing.  Seeing the light begins with opening our eyes.

Comments are closed.