“Keeping score isn’t nearly as important as knowing what makes up your scorecard.”
Let’s talk football for a minute.
I think there’s two important things to highlight here – I know very little about football and I was crushing on Travis Kelse before Taylor Swift knew he existed. Sure, I love a good Swift song but I don’t qualify as a Swifty. I digress. Back to the game.
I love watching football with my son. In addition to talking smack to each other (we inevitable cheer for opposite teams because that’s what moms and sons do), it is an opportunity to instill life lessons. Yep. I’m that mom. Constantly looking for subtle or not so subtle opportunities to expose my son to lessons I wish I had known back in the day.
Everyone loves an underdog and supporting a champion. There’s something about watching people put everything on the line – only to come up short or to win the Superbowl. After all, isn’t that what life is about? To pursue something wholeheartedly knowing there is a very good chance it won’t work out. That you may find yourself congratulating someone equally as passionate as you for grabbing your dream right out of your hands. Marketing whiz Simon Sinek once said, “to succeed takes more than the desire to win. It also takes the acceptance we could fail.”
So true in life. But even more so in football. Rarely, is it as finite as the Superbowl. Where success is measured in yards, completed passes and the ability to knock your opponent down only to give him a hand to help him up, knowing when the next ball snaps he’s coming for you. Where your worth is measured in individual plays and your collective ability to win. Where speculations from the experts who analyze your every move and draw conclusions about you from the comfort and safety of the sidelines. Where distractions like half-time performances, fans, and overly produced commercials consume every second of downtime.
Then, it is over. Just like that. There are clear winners and losers. Or, is there? It is unlikely the 22 players on the field will ever experience such extraordinarily highs or lows again in their lifetime. But these moments will become memories they will cherish for a lifetime. Long after the commentators are done speculating and rehashing every player’s move, long after the commercials are retired to a YouTube vault, and the trophy tucked away in a case, the players will still relish in the magic of the moment.
I quit sports in middle school. But, my competitive spirit lives on. I vividly remember the elbows thrown, high fives, the sound of an unlikely swoosh in a hail mary thrown at a hoop, and the bitter taste of disappointment discovering your best wasn’t good enough to win. The decision to quit when it no longer served me and the joy I experience now talking smack and shooting hoops with my son. It might not be the Superbowl but as a mama who struggled to get pregnant for years, I feel like a champion.
It makes sense. After all, Sinek summed it up best when he said, “no one likes to lose and most healthy people live their life to win. The only variation is the score we use. The metric is relative but the desire is the same.”
The great thing about life, unlike football, is you get to choose the score you use. Do you measure success by your bank account or your memory bank. By your status in society or your integrity. Do you pursue the life you want or the life others want for you. Are you the player who knocks others down to get what you want, or pulls others up with you? Keeping score isn’t nearly as important as knowing what makes up your scorecard. As my son grows older, I hope he knows and understands that. It is a lesson that took me far too long to learn, only to need to relearn it again many, many times on and off the field.
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