Fight to the End

by Ryan Krzykowski

With a record of 0-2 and coming off of a lopsided loss, it would have been easy for our 5th and 6th graders to hang their heads and get down on themselves after their opponent ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown last weekend.

The message we coaches have worked to deliver is to focus on the next play — don’t worry about what’s already happened.  We want to win the next play.  So it was encouraging when the boys held on defense and the PAT run after that quick first touchdown was stopped, leaving the score 6-0.  Our kids continued to play hard, just couldn’t quite put together a consistent drive.  They moved the ball fairly well throughout the game, the best they had all year, but didn’t get into the end zone.  A penalty or minus play at the wrong time kept our kids off the scoreboard.  Eventually the boys gave up another touchdown, but again held on the PAT try and the score was 12-0 with only a few minutes left in the game.

At that point it would have been easy to mail it in, but our boys had no quit in them.  They got that ball and quickly broke a long run, and a few plays later completed a touchdown pass and catch.  They then ran in the extra point to make the score 12-7 with about 90 seconds to play.  At that point, despite getting the score and closing the gap, the chances of getting the ball back and scoring again were slim.  But when their objective is to win the next play without concern for the score, our kids gave themselves a chance — and then they took full advantage of it.  The defense held, we had timeouts to keep the clock stopped, and our boys got the ball back with about a minute to go.  A couple plays later they hit another touchdown pass and the unlikely comeback was complete.

The kids were understandably excited after winning the game, especially in the dramatic fashion that it happened.  It was a tremendous victory, and satisfying to see their effort pay off with a victory.  In talking to the boys, I told them that I was really happy for them because I knew they wanted to get a win.  But more importantly, I got to tell them I was proud of the way they played the entire game, never quit, never stopped believing, and gave it everything they had to the finish.  That would have been just as true had they lost.

People sometimes get the idea that coaching with purpose is about not trying to win, or being indifferent as to whether we win or not — that’s just not true.  Coaching With Purpose is about seeing the value in developing the type of qualities that make a person a winner, regardless of the scoreboard.  Last weekend, our boys showed courage and perseverance in a way that I hope they’ll always remember.  I am incredibly proud of them.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…