NGSC Sports

Football Fabulosa – Giving Thanks for Sports

This week’s edition of Football Fabulosa is going to be somewhat abbreviated and will take a bit of a different turn than normal. It’s the nature of the business that I often get called upon to write about the worst aspects of sports but none of that today. There are many good things about sports so in the interest of thankfulness let’s visit and celebrate them shall we?

When it’s done right, just about any sport can be a building block for many things. Hard work, discipline, leadership, the value of diversity, sacrifice and dealing with disappointment are some of the many things I learned from being around sports my entire life. Growing up, I played a variety of sports most of which were team sports in nature like softball, basketball, and volleyball. I also swam and played tennis and found those sports to be invaluable teaching environments as well.

Through those years, I was incredibly fortunate enough to have excellent coaches. It truly does start at the top and with one or two exceptions I had great leaders and willing teachers coaching me through the years. More often than not they led by example which is a quality that cannot be understated. Kids, even the very young ones, are wiser than they sometimes get credit for and they often notice things that adults will overlook. I will forever be grateful to those coaches who taught me what it was like to be a leader by example. It’s a lesson that has served me well throughout my life.

I was also fortunate through the years to have experienced some of the most incredible team mates a girl could have. Some day I might write about my own personal experiences inside female locker rooms, the dynamics, and how it differed so greatly from what we hear and read about these days. I never knew how incredibly blessed I was in that department until recently when horror stories starting coming out.

One of the best things I learned from playing so many different sports was the incredible value of diversity. I feel incredibly blessed to have played with so many different females from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Again, I never knew how valuable that was until recently. I had gay team mates. Some were pretty open about it and some weren’t. It wasn’t a big factor. Oh sure, there were “those” who talked behind their backs but they talked about everyone behind their backs. In large part however we really didn’t care about anything other than who was going to help us win. That is another value I have found to be invaluable as I have navigated this thing called life.

Also through sports I truly learned the value of hard work and discipline. I was fortunate to play for coaches who valued those qualities. I never played for a coach who played favorites though I saw it happen on other teams. Often you see politics and other things factor into playing time, particularly in smaller rural areas. If that was ever a factor on the teams I played on I never saw it. I played on some really good teams filled with good players who worked hard and did the things we needed to do to win.

Finally, a valuable tool I learned through playing sports was learning to deal with disappointment. None of this new fangled “everyone wins” stuff. Every single game I played there was a winner and a loser and that’s how it should be. We didn’t win every game. We won some hard fought contests that maybe we shouldn’t have won against better teams. We learned tenacity and never giving up matters. We learned that heart sometimes wins when all else fails. We learned that sometimes talent, hard work and heart doesn’t guarantee a win.

I found that you learned as much by losing as we did by winning because it taught us what we did wrong and how to overcome our deficiencies. More importantly, we learned how to work together as a team to highlight our strengths and balance our our weaknesses. I enjoyed all the sports I played but the best times by far were those I shared with my team mates though thick or thin. My strongest memories are those moments I shared with my team mates whether it was celebrating after a win or crying after a terrible loss. Yes, there is crying in sports and that’s okay.

Having learned the true value of what a great team can bring, I am truly thankful for the great team we are building at National Gridiron Network. The fine folks here bring all the great qualities discussed above as evidenced by the quality writing and excellent podcasts currently being produced. There are big things in store so stay tuned for more announcements. The great things coming down the pike for everyone associated with NGN is living proof that team work, hard work and discipline pays off in the long run.

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