Pigskin Princess #5: A Tale of Two Game Days

Written By: Dawn - Oct• 30•13

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It’s hard to believe, but my football season has come to an end. Like last year, I thought I’d pen several blog posts about my experiences, but fatigue always won out.

I went into this season hoping to demonstrate more confidence and knowledge on the field. It was fine to stand in the background last season and take it all in, but if I couldn’t start doing more, I didn’t see much of a future for me in coaching.

And while I’ve always believed my presence on the team has been a blessing, I never would have predicted the opportunity I was given during the last three weeks of our season.

I work primarily with our B Team- the new-to-football kids, the slow kids, the kids who can’t remember plays and the kids whose parents are forcing them to play. For a new coach like myself, this is ideal. I’m new to football, I’m a slow learner and  I haven’t memorized all the plays either.

I work with a wonderful man named Ron and together we give our guys what they need- conditioning, fundamentals and positive reinforcement in hope that they stick with football and get better each season.

This year the head coach scheduled two B Team games for us to play. The idea is to play other developmental teams to give the players valuable game experience. Last year the B Team finished 0-2-1.

This year for our games I would be running the offense and Ron would run defense and special teams. What????

The head coach said if I didn’t want to do it, he would. I replied, “Why am I out here if I’m not willing to be scared?”

And boy was I scared. Shitless actually. With good reason.

The first game went like this-

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We were out matched, out played and definitely out coached.

While I hadn’t made the mistake of thinking my first game would go off without a hitch, I certainly  didn’t expect the 60-0 pounding we took (at least not until after we completed our first offensive series).

For my own part, I ran the ball of fourth down when we were on their thirty yard line, ran the same plays over and over again even after it became clear their defense could easily read our formations  and watched as my backup quarterback struggled to get the hand-offs right, the result of me not letting him practice much because I was so sure our starting quarterback would last the entire game without needing a breather.

On defense we played with twelve men, ten and as few as nine on more than one occasion. The referees showed us some grace and let ALL of those mistakes slide.

So what the heck happened out there? Ron and I had been on the sideline for many games by this point. But being there and running the show are two very different things, as I learned. The best way to describe it is to show you this clip form the third Pirates of the Caribbean  movie when the evil Beckett meets his end. Watch how he moves silently and slowly, while chaos erupts around him.

That’s how it felt being out there, being responsible and being on display, warts and all, for my players, my colleagues and the parents to see. So much was happening around me, I felt at times like I was trying to grab a single leaf in the middle of a tornado. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and yet I knew I wanted to do it again, at least once, to see if I could do better.

As we walked off the field my Head Coach, Dennis, put his arm around me and said, “My first season coaching I went 0-9.”

I’m pleased to say we all learned from that first game. Last week we played our second game against our district rivals.

baltimore-ravens-win-super-bowl

 

The final score was 13-0- us!

Ron and I managed the game better. We played a team more evenly matched to ours. And I had added options on all of our formations so we were less predictable.

I can’t help but wonder if we hadn’t experienced the agony of defeat, would this victory have tasted as sweet?

I thought I chose to coach football because I love the game and working with kids. I think that’s only half of it. I think I chose to be on the field because I needed to step away from my comfort zone. It’s far too easy to live day-to-day quietly going about your business.

As a writer I have to bring authenticity  to my work and there’s no better way to do it than living a full life.

Sometimes, as I discovered on the football field, the worst of times is merely a prelude to the best of times.

Go Huskies! B Team 2013 1-1

 

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