The Oakers suffered a very disappointing 43 – 21 loss on Friday night to the North Kingstown Skippers. The defense is struggling with tackling. Technically, the struggle is a lack of tackling. The offense was flat during the second half. The good news is that the tackling problem is very solvable with a few form-tackling drills. The offense is incredibly talented and capable of so much more than what we saw Friday night.
I was incredibly disappointed by the Oakers Friday night. However, I am not disappointed by the loss. I am disappointed with the lack of heart, enthusiasm, and teamwork exhibited by the Oakers Friday. I could see it a little at the start of the second half but it became blatantly obvious half-way through the third quarter with the Oakers down by only 2 touchdowns. We had plenty of time and talent to mount a comeback, but the offense just seemed to give up. There appeared to be arguments amongst themselves, as well as lack of blocking. They just appeared to give up and refuse to fight. I can respect a team that loses but fights to the end. There is nothing to respect about rolling over and giving up.
I want to talk now about why this bothers me so much. It’s not about the game but it’s about life. I’ve learned in life that if someone has integrity, character, discipline, and perseverance in small things, then they will have integrity, character, discipline, and perseverance in big things. Conversely, if someone cuts corners, gives up or just “checks out” on small things, they will do the same for big things.
Oaker starters, you had others depending on you. You had friends and teammates depending on you to make your block, run your route, and do your job. Instead you argued with each other and slacked off. Oakers bench, you had friends and teammates needing encouragement and motivation. Instead you were deafeningly silent.
What happens 10 years from now if life “kicks you in the teeth”? Based on what I saw last night, it looks like you might just give up and be a lump. What happens 10 years from now if you’re married and your relationship is struggling? Based on what I saw last night, you’ll shut yourself off, refuse to work on it, and likely head to divorce court. What happens 10 years from now if you have a wife and kids depending on you and times get hard? Based on what I saw last night, you just check out and go through the motions of life.
You have a chance through football to learn important lessons about working together, discipline, perseverance, integrity, and character. You have the opportunity to learn how to do your job when others are depending on you. You have an incredible opportunity to learn how your whole team can be so much more than the sum of the individual parts of the team.
You are close to adulthood and, whether you realize it or not, you are setting a pattern of how you will live your life. You can learn ways to be interdependent with your teammates and learn what it means to depend on others as they also depend on you. You can learn what it means to work together for a common goal, to give more of yourself that you realize you have, and to keep working even when you’re down.
The other option is to focus primarily on yourself. You can certainly be independent this way. However, one can never really accomplish some of the great things that teams accomplish in life. The choice is clearly yours to make. This isn’t something that can be coached. You have to look deep within yourself and ask what you want.