Some of you might remember that I had been playing on a flag football team this spring with some men from my church. Well the season is over and I wanted to share with you some realizations I had while playing. This is going to be a shorter post, so without further ado…
1. Competitive Drive Doesn’t Equate to Aggressive Behavior
From the very first game, we saw the best and the worst in the other teams. Every team was very driven to win, but it was usually the team with the cooler heads that prevailed. One team stood in the parking lot screaming at each other for a full hour after their game ended. Needless to say, they didn’t do very well until they started putting their egos aside later in the season.
2. People Will Remember Your Behavior on the Field
While our team was in it to win it (I won’t divulge our actual win/loss ratio), we also used the opportunity as an outreach to others. We played by the rules, kept arguments to a minimum, and invited the other team to pray with us after every game. The end result? Everyone respected us. The referees commended us as a breath of fresh air. An opposing QB said we were the classiest team on the field. Other teams began to make sure we were going to pray with them after the games. Small, deliberate actions do add up.
3. It’s Easy to Get Lost in Your Animal Instincts
My final position had me rushing the opposing QB pretty frequently. Whenever it was my turn to rush, I felt a surge of primal energy. Sounds from the sidelines began to fade. My body was taut, ready to lunge forward at the snap of the football. The primal instinct to chase would get so strong that tactics often got left behind (chasing the QB so they run to their weak side, not leaving an opening for them to run the ball ,etc). The only thing on my mind was the chase. Other times I would be chasing a receiver down the field at breakneck speed, leaving me gasping for air. It’s an empowering feeling to be chasing after someone as fast as you can. I can now understand why dogs chase cars. Next season, I will need to temper this instinct…just a little.
4. You’re Only as Good as Your Weakest Link
I’ll admit I’m not very accustomed to team sports. I’m used to athletic endeavors where the only person I rely on is myself. Participating as a part of a team can be stressful and frustrating. There were a few times when I was on the sidelines wringing my hands as the offense threw a Hail Mary down the field or felt a twinge of annoyance because they made a play that I didn’t agree with. On the flip side, whenever I messed up, I felt like I let the team down. Sometimes the defense was on fire and the offense was cold. Other times it was the reverse. Playing on a team is an exercise in patience because there will be a time when you’re the weakest link.
5. Experience Isn’t Always Required
I came into this season completely green having never played on a football team my entire life. That being said, I went to as many practices as I could before the season started, listened to instruction from the more experienced players, and stayed as adaptable as I could. I played many different positions over the season before settling on defense as one of the rushers. Just because you are bad in one position doesn’t mean you will be bad in another. If you’re new, be sure to hop around and try a few completely different positions.
If you’re like me, the thought of playing a team sport probably sounds a little daunting. I urge you to give it a shot if given the opportunity. I had a lot of fun, got some fresh air and exercise, bonded with fellow men, and set an example of sportsmanship. All in all, a good season.
Jacob the Gentleman