Lessons Learned watching ‘Pop Warner’ Football

If you’ve ever been to a football game being played by 8-9 year olds, it resembles a cross between a Rugby Scrum and Dodgeball w/Helmets.

Hence, entertaining but hard to figure out who’s got the ball or what’s really going on… Especially considering the poor viewing angle available via bleachers. How could I possibly have learned from this? Simple: by watching the adults…more specifically the Head Coach.

Picture this: he’s pacing the sidelines back and forth as if this were the NFL Playoffs. (Who knows, maybe he had a friendly ‘wager’ pending?) But still he drones on and on, back and forth, grimacing, looking at the ground chewing gum in perfect rhythm with his step.

Back and forth, over and over… Did I mention this guy is built like a Brick $hit house? Probably 6 ft, 220 and muscular. If it werent so disturbing to witness, it would be funny. I’m thinking, this guy needs to be in a Southwest Airlines commercial, ie, ‘Wanna get away?’

This pacing is only interrupted by intermittent groans of pain (with or without hands thrown in the air). He’s obviously disgusted at his teams performance, and verbalizes this often.  The team seems headed for another inevitable loss…AGAIN…

Halftime:Coach decides to the only thing to do is shame them into playing harder, ‘Im watchin’ you guys and I see some of you not running and giving 100%. If that doesnt change in the 2nd half, you’re going to be running the whole practice on Monday!”

NICE. How’s that workin’ out for ya, Coach? These guys are gettin’ their 9 yr old asses kicked all over the field, now the same holds true for the sideline! As predicted, the level of motivation these guys have is rapidly diminishing, 19-0, 26-0, and finally, the pain subsides temporarily, and its over.

First and foremost, dont be too quick to ‘judge’ Coach. Afterall, his hearts in the right place and this is all he knows. Heck, their not paying him for this torture. Likely this is how he was taught…

Moreover, having ‘coached’ my son’s tee ball team of 3-5 year olds, I know personally the special pain of watching your team get clobbered. In fact, we looked like the Bad News Bears, or so I thought. It was very close in many ways to herding cats

You see, these guys are a first year team, and they end up playing teams with older, bigger and faster kids. Point being, you could have the best game plan in the world, but it doesnt matter if you cant block, run and/or tackle nearly as well as the other guys…

So how many of us, like me, find ourselves on the sideline, worrying about market conditions in the same way? Worse, wasting energy by pacing back and forth and not really making any progress, hoping it will be different next quarter, or 2nd half, or next game, maybe next season?

We should be LEARNING right now. Lets face it, we rarely learn anything when we’re winning all the time… 2 final thoughts courtesy of the Dalai Lama:




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