The Art of Losing: A boys football story

If you had told me four years ago that team sports would be a regular and frequent part of my life, I probably would have laughed at you. The Rockstar and I have never been that into sports. Not that we were anti, we just didn’t have it in our lives. That is until my son met his buddy Aidan. He was involved in this youth league and slowly, Cosmo started to show interest. Having played team sports as kids, we were into the idea and we signed him up. He wanted to try basketball but insisted that he was NOT going to participate in the other three sports offered by this league. Little did we know that we were on the cusp of something that would impact our lives in a deep and personal way, for the better. Now we are a couple years in and have forged friendships that I know will span our lives. We’ve already made memories that we will always cherish and have had experiences that have built character and discipline. Our coaches have been amazing. They are positive and supportive even when they are teaching the “hard lessons”. Kare Youth League has been nothing short of a blessing in our lives. 

We are the KYL Bulldogs and let me tell you, we are the team to beat. This season of football has been incredibly exciting! We have had an unprecidented, undefeated season. We won every single game leading up to the championship. Last night we played the team that had the second best record (four losses) and was best situated to give us a run for our money… and run we did! The boys played an incredible game and… they lost. Let me say that again, our undefeated team lost last night. These kinds of upsets happen in all sports. From youth leagues to the major leagues. An off night is an off night no matter what the level of expertise. 

Tell that to a team of devestated ten year old boys, though. We are with the same boys and their families three times a week, year round. I can say, without hesitation, that I love these people. We are all there to give our kids the team experience. We support each other, we build each others kiddos up when they need it, we pat backs and “good game” each other as needed. When one of the boys has a rough game we tell him that it’s ok and that he’ll be better next time. This is my Bulldog family. 

We were positioned to win last night and this image kind of sums up the game.

This kid is one of our best players. He missed a pass with 13 seconds on the clock. The kid passing was also one of the top players, these things happen. There were a series of events like this, including a few extremely questionable calls by the officials, that were our demise. These things happen. 

Sportsmanship is huge in this league. Learning to win is easy, learning to lose is a whole new ballgame. Sportsmanship is not about being happy that you lost, it’s about taking the loss with honor. You still line up and congratulate the other team. You hold your head up and say “good game”. 

As parents of boys, I appreciate the way our team is ok with emotion. Too many times in their lives they will be told to suck it up and be a man. It’s as if society has equated the emotions that show masculinity to be happiness and anger alone. I can’t get behind that. The raw emotion that was shown after the game was beautiful to me. 

Not all of them cried but some did and nobody cared. They didn’t have to hide it from their buddies. They didn’t have to suck it up. 

I think they will be better fathers and partners as a result of this freedom to express themselves emotionally. As far as taking the loss goes, nobody was thrilled but we accepted it. Their coach told them how proud he was and that he wouldn’t want to be the coach of any other team. They heard him. 

Getting the second place ribbon instead of the first place trophy is bitter sweet but a pizza party followed and they shifted their moods. 

By the end of the evening, they were playing and laughing. They were talking about the UCLA/USC game and looking forward to starting basketball in two weeks. They expressed themselves and bounced back. I love these boys and am terribly grateful to have this league as part of our lives. GO BULLDOGS!

Swearing Mom out. 

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