One of my favorite sports, football, is back again. I’m thankful and excited that they were able to make it work in this still health-challenged season of our lives. It’s been alternately fascinating and painful to watch this year so far because they aren’t playing as well as they usually do for the first week of football. Why? I assume the biggest reason is because they haven’t had the opportunities they needed to really prep as a team due to the restrictions from the virus. Week one games are hard enough to begin with, and to not have the usual months of prep and practice games to get everyone flowing together both old and new players, added a lot of pressure and forced some mistakes as well.
Football is a team sport in ways that other sports simply aren’t because of the number of players who are actively participating in the game play at one given time. So if you can’t get your team to work together, you don’t have a chance of pulling off a victory (unless the other team is way worse than you). Sometimes other sports like baseball can get lucky off hits from just a couple of people, or basketball off a couple of really high point scorers, but with football it’s not really playing the game if you don’t have everyone moving and involved. Everyone has to be in sync or it’s just failed play after failed play, which makes for really boring games, which is why everyone has to work on their fitness individually and then gather together to practice running different plays.
Something you learn from a very early age is the importance of practice in life, tied in with the fact that you rarely get it right the first time. Thinking about simple subjects like math facts and writing letters, even if you got it right the first time, you practiced pages and pages for years to get to a point where it is more second nature than anything else (especially other than a guess). My hope is that football teams will be able to find the time to practice and feel more comfortable and confident as the month goes on, hopefully getting into a better rhythm before too many games are lost.
The same holds true for us as we work on our victories: sometimes you just need to make the time to practice. If you’re familiar with some of the stories of authors who submitted manuscripts multiple times before they were picked up to be published, or ask them how many stories they worked on before they found one that they were comfortable submitting, both of those numbers are higher than some people would imagine. Most people don’t just arrive at the top of a victory mountain, it takes effort, progress, setbacks, practice, teamwork, creativity, confidence and more to get there. So if you’re realizing you’re in need of a little practice this week, don’t be ashamed, even the big sports stars and musicians spend time practicing, so why shouldn’t the rest of us?