Kids and Super Bowl XLV

After several weekends of playoff games there is both elation and disappointment in the air as the Lombardi trophy is awarded. I extend a virtual hand and congratulate MVP Eli Manning and the New York Giants for their competitive Super Bowl XLV win today. Their game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots was close and exciting. My home team–The Chargers—after giving us a one heck of a ride in December–came up short and missed the playoffs altogether. Consequently, local football fans were actually able to relax during the playoffs and this ultimate competition without throwing something at the TV. For the losers today, it was often a case of the throw that got away. Sometimes things turns on a dime. Thus is the beauty of football and other sports, as well as the myriad games we play in life. No matter how skilled we are, or how prepared, sometimes it comes down to a doink on a helmet, a blown whistle, an askew lace, a gust of wind, the twelfth man, or perhaps someone’s secret talisman. Revealing, will be the sport message boards and blogs on both the winning and losing sides of the NFL tonight. These will be, presumably, written by adults. The range of emotions displayed will give one pause for thought —from bitter vitriol, name calling, tears, tantrums, blame, and gloating, to genuine congratulations and hope-springs-eternal for the next season! I’m sure fans will eventually return to some stable equilibrium whether next week or next season! Tomorrow morning children will be returning to school after being exposed to this range of emotion. What we teach them about winning and losing, is playing itself out in cyberspace tonight. Kids have picked up the fact that winning is exhilarating from nearly every aspect of our society, but need roll models to learn that it’s tolerable (however unpleasant) to lose! How we conduct ourselves in the aftermath of our games, plays to our character. A good coach understands the strengths and weaknesses of each player. So does a good parent or teacher. One of my all-time favorite cartoons by Roz Chast, addressed the collective angst of the home team in a New Yorker cartoon a number of years ago. “It’s our fault,” resonated the players, the ump, the fans. The caption: “Guilt Day at Shea Stadium.” (It’s in her book THEORIES OF EVERYTHING Selected, Collected, Health-Inspected Cartoons 1978-2006 By Roz Chast. Check it out) As great as it must feel to be a world champion, I still believe the journey is a big part of the reward.

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