Football: Pain of Sacrifice or Pain of Regret
What could possibly compel someone to play a sport so physically painful? The average lifespan of an NFL lineman is barely 58 years. Granted, NFL players make a large sum of money, but college and high school football players are not paid; so why would they play football?
What makes football worth the constant headaches, soreness, and bruises?
Bellevue High School won state for 3A this year. One Bellevue high player said “it’s satisfying to work hard for something”. Their players do not simply play for glory or self praise. They strive to play well simply because hard work is satisfying. There is a certain feeling of accomplishment while playing football. There is also a lot of glory and praise in winning a state title. But as the phrase goes, you’ve only got 15 minutes for fame. Bellevue won state this year but twenty years in the future no one is going to remember who won state in 2011. So obviously football is much more than glory, fame, or self acclamations.
The other side to football is the team. Football is played with 11 players, not one. One player may stand out more than the rest but without all 11 players completing their assigned duties, the team fails. All 11 players learn to trust each other because if one lineman makes a mistake the QB takes a hard hit. If any player misses a block then the play goes for 2 yards instead of 5 yards. If there’s a poor handoff then the timing of the play is off resulting in no yards gained. Every play and player is dependent upon all 11 team mates doing their job properly.
So why play football?
A player from Seattle Preparatory high school answered this very question saying, “Because the feeling of victory makes the pain and difficult times worth it. Because improvement in myself and the team doesn’t come without sacrifice”.
Within football is the idea of “Pain of Sacrifice or Pain of Regret.” Either work hard and succeed or slack off and fail. And remember, someone is always counting on you. The QB and running backs rely on the blocking skills of the O-line. The linebackers rely on the D-lineman to fill their gaps and account for their responsibilities.
So there you have it. Football is more than pain and it is more than glory. It is comradeship, fellowship, accountability, and self improvement. It is putting the team over yourself. A football team is a family. They care for each other, protect each other, and look out for each other. The bonds formed from playing high school football are bonds that can last a lifetime.
For all of these reasons, football is one of my favorite coping mechanisms. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. It is a time for us to challenge ourselves to get active, to take care of our bodies, and to find our own unique ways of movement or physical activity that feel good to us.
If you are looking to get more active or want something new to try out to relieve your stress here are some great resources in Seattle:
To learn more visit www.bikeworks.org
Seattle Parks and Recreation- They have all kinds of opportunities from getting involved with sports to learning to swim to going on outdoor adventures.
Visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/teens/ for more information.
Have a fun and active May!