By Silk-Jazmyne Hindus
It was so hot, the backs of my thighs literally stuck to the metal seating I was on, but I was too immersed in the scene before me. I was watching my first football game in person. It was Navy versus Marines and we (Navy) got destroyed. At the end of the game, my dad came over to my mother and I, and she greeted him with a hug and kiss as though his team had won.
My dad was my hero then: strong leader with a warm heart. He often did little sentimental things for my mother just because it was Tuesday. Staring up at him, I noticed the smile adorning his face. It was ear to ear which perplexed me. I was eight years old and incredibly inquisitive. I asked him, “Daddy, why are you so happy?” My mother smiled at the innocence of my question, but it was my father’s response which made the pride in her eyes shine. He leaned down, swooped me into his arms, and simply stated, “Because I love the game.”
That love bound the two of us to the couch every single Sunday afternoon. As I grew older, I realized the life lessons my father had taught me through our favorite pastime:
Beginnings don’t define the end
After the players grace the field, first someone sings the national anthem, then comes the coin toss. In football, the coin toss is integral; it sets the tone. The winner of the coin toss determines who will receive the ball first. The team that loses that initial coin toss has no say; however, they still have choices. Lesson: In our own lives, there is no choice in the life we’re born into, but every moment is a new chance to begin. My father lost his father at a young age; the death sent his mother into a depression, leading her to drugs. Her new boyfriend often abused her, and my father. Vowing to never be like the man who had “raised” him throughout his teenage years, my father stayed in school, got good grades, and then joined the military because he couldn’t afford college. Now he is a licensed Surgical Assistant.
The moral? Don’t allow the coin toss to determine the outcome of the game.
Every year, during the spring, the National Football League holds their draft; the elite of college football are chosen by NFL teams. These young professionals don’t always get their team of choice, yet they still wear their excitement right on their sleeves! One might ask, “Why?” and the answer is; they get to play the game they love.
Have you ever been at a family gathering and wished for another group of people to share blood with? Have you ever tried to look past the negative traits, and look at the positive traits in them? Have you ever tried to learn lessons from them in order to find out why God chose them to be major players in your life story? I can honestly say I haven’t. Over the years, it’s become easier to complain and ignore my family members than to just spend time with them. Even if they drive me crazy, there’s sure to be some type of wisdom in an interaction.
The moral? You can learn something from anyone, including those you may not even like.
Don’t focus on lost yards
When I first fell in love with football, I would spend entire afternoons on my father’s lap. My favorite play was the “long bomb”. Watching that ball float in the air, biting my nails with anticipation, wondering who was going to catch it, I would scurry out of my father’s lap in order to sit right in front of the T.V. When the receiver caught it, we would roar and yell and the amazement of a play like that. I wondered why any coach would bother with the “run game”; they rarely had the excitement of the long bomb and typically only resulted in a few yards here or there. Then there were times when the ball carrier wouldn’t gain any yards or lose yards on the play. When it happened to my team, I would feel defeated, but my dad would assure me that it was only one play out of an entire game. “Just because they lost yards on the play doesn’t mean they’ve lost the game.”
In our own lives, we will see setbacks, events that we didn’t expect or desire, but that doesn’t mean we’re to be counted out. Lost a job? You can find another. Lost your house? Doesn’t mean you’ll never become a homeowner again. Lost a significant other? There’s still hope for you. If we became defeated every time we saw a set back, there would be no room for triumph.
Moral: Sometimes you get outplayed but there’s still another quarter, another game, another season if need be.
Don’t allow fouls to derail you
“Flag on the play!” referees yell when a wrong action occurs on the field. All the players are made aware of NFL rules and regulations, and when any are broken there are a loss of yards. In football, the team who has been wronged moves forward. They get closer to the end zone. What if we looked at life like this: allowing how we have been wronged to act as a force to push us closer to our wants rather than further away. Each time I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve grown just a little bit more. I’m not saying I enjoy pain; however, I have become more of who I want to be because of it. Look at Adele: one heartbreak lead her to create one of the greatest albums our generation has ever seen.
Moral: Consider setbacks as challenges that are yet to be overcome.
Don’t give up – there’s still time on the clock
Have you ever experienced a “Hail Mary”? I can only think of a few times I’ve seen this actually pulled off; it’s a last ditch effort to squeeze a win out of a hopeless situation. With everything on the line, the team keeps pushing. Mentality leads them to win because they were focused on the chance of winning, instead of the taste of defeat. Many people declare “I can’t follow my dreams because I’m too old.” Or “My life is already over.”, yet when I graduated college, there was a man in his 80s in my class. It’s not over till it’s over. If you have breath in your body you have options.
Moral: You may believe accomplishing what you desire is impossible, but the truth is, the impossible just doesn’t happen overnight.
I’m proud to be a football fan! Ladies, next time you roll your eyes at your brother’s/boyfriend’s/father’s love of football, consider the life lessons you could learn, just being willing to open yourself up to something new!
Silk- Jazmyne Hindus is a recent graduate of Florida International University with a Degree in Communications and is currently working part time as a Promotions Assistant for CBS Radio Tampa/St. Pete. Deciding to take time off before continuing her education, she moved home to nanny her eight-year-old cousin while her mother completes her nursing degree. Her current responsibilities have made her aware of the time, patience, and love people (especially children) need. In her spare time she reads and writes poetry and short stories. She has always had a love of art; her family encouraged her passion for writing, but until recently she always considered it a hobby. She currently plans to pursue a MFA in Creative Writing in order to become a college professor and novelist. She would like to publish her first book before the age of 35.