So can you guess what this off topic post is about?
My son has been playing organized outdoor youth football for six years now and none of the teams he's been on in the fall has ever managed to make it past the first round of the playoffs, if they were even able to get that far. But after his spring experience he decided he liked playing with the kids on that team and for the coaches of that team. I liked it because for the first time I felt he was being used in a way that best suited his abilities, so we made the decision to switch fall programs and continue playing with and for the same group of people on a team called the Ravens.
The Ravens dominated for most of the year, but faced some adversity in the last regular season game when they lost to the other dominant team in their division, the Cavaliers, by a score of 12-6. I thought it was the best thing for the Ravens because it humbled them a little, but chances were they would face the Cavs again in the league championship if both teams made it that far, so there could be a chance for revenge.
In the playoffs, the Cavs were the #1 seed and steamrolled through the two teams they faced to make it to the super bowl. The Ravens were #2 and handled their first opponent pretty easily, but had to scratch out a 7-6 victory against a team that was very well prepared for them in the semi-finals. They won though, and that set up the rematch in the title game.
Last night was that game. I thought the Ravens could win if the defense was solid up the middle, but the Cavs got the ball first and drove right down the field with ease and scored a touchdown within a couple minutes. They failed to score an extra point but the Cavs looked like they were ready to steamroll another opponent on their way to an easy title.
But our boys didn't get discouraged and engineered their own grind it out drive to kill the rest of the first quarter (they play 10 minute quarters in youth football), and they scored at the start of the second quarter. They were also successful in their extra point attempt and led 7-6. They just needed to make it stick.
On the ensuing kickoff the Cavs got a great return down to about the Ravens 40 yard line and looked ready to move with ease again. Unfortunately for them they attempted to run a play to my son's side of the field. He forced a fumble and recovered it, changing the entire complexion of the game.
There was some back-and-forth for the rest of the half, but in the second half the Ravens clamped down on defense and opened it up on offense and managed to win the game 20-6. They avenged the loss to the only team that beat them this year and became champions in the process.
Kings of the hill.
For his part, my son had the fumble recovery, two huge tackles for losses on 3rd downs, and solid blocking as a tight end on offense, among other things. I told him before the game that it took him six years to get to this point and it didn't matter whether his team won or lost, nor did it matter if he made a mistake out on the field. The only thing that mattered was that he did not regret how he played when it was over and that he didn't wish he would have played differently. For once I think he took my advice.
And following the advice worked out pretty well in the end.
Thinking about it, that advice applies to running too. Don't regret how you should have performed when it's over. Always leave it all out on the field/road/trail. Can't wait to heal so I can take my own advice.