Failure is expected….

The 2015 high school football season started this weekend. It’s W’s last season of high school football and perhaps ever as a player. Friday night the Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers began the season against their cross-town rival, Wheaton North. I watched from the North sidelines as part of the chain gang. I kept my mouth shut and my enthusiasm to myself. I kept my eye on the field and moved with the ball.

my shadow cast upon the sidelines
my shadow cast upon the sidelines

It was a good game and the Tigers came out on top, barely.

The game was scoreless at the half. 0-0.

The third quarter began and The Falcons quickly scored a touchdown to lead by seven. The Tigers answered with a touchdown of their own and the game was tied at seven all. It stayed tied until the end. Then, the game moved to overtime.

Overtime rules are different. Each team gets the ball on the ten yard line and gets four downs (plays\tries) to score. The team that scores the most points wins. Simple.

Both teams failed to score in the first overtime and the teams switched ends and started over. In the second overtime, the Tigers failed to score on three downs, then, kicked a field goal to lead for the first time in the game. Then it was the Falcons turn. They ran three plays and failed to score, then lined up for a field goal, too.

The field goal try failed, it wasn’t close. The Tigers won and the players swarmed the field in jubilation and Tiger’s stands erupted. (you can watch below – I was never far from the reporter who shot the video and wrote the story)

In anguish, several of the Falcons collapsed to the turf, the kicker lay face down in disappointment. He missed, he failed, the Falcons lost but, there was plenty of failure to go around on both sides of the field Friday night.

I felt for that kicker. I know him, he’s a good kid and a good player, but he’s not the regular kicker. The Falcon’s kicker had gotten hurt earlier in the week and someone had to fill in. Big shoes to fill, so to say.

The game could’ve gone either way. Football is a game of failure with the victor being the team which fails the least.

It’s not what happens when you fail, it’s more important what you do after you fail. Me

The first game of the season is finished, it’s history. It’s one game of nine. It’s time to move forward and focus on the eight games remaining on the Tiger’s schedule. The Falcons, too.

I expect failure, I am a teacher. Learning without failure, isn’t learning. Failure forces us to examine what we are doing and to adjust, it makes us stronger.

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana, The Life of Reason: Five Volumes in One

Santayana’s quote is lettered in subtle pink across the front of my classroom reminding my students (and me) that all of us must learn our lessons and move forward. Learn from our experiences and change our behavior to learn and grow. Sometimes, it takes more than one try to get it right.

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This weekend visitors from Michigan joined us for the game Friday – two of W’s (and O’s, too) lake friends drove over from Grand Rapids to stay with us and visit. School doesn’t start in Michigan until after Labor Day and they decided to come see us Friday night for the game. Actually, they began hatching the plan when we were last up at the lake in early August. We were up late Friday night and the kids had a good time Saturday before the two traveled back to Michigan.

W did not play Friday night, he played in the junior varsity game Saturday morning and it was postponed due to thunder midway through the first quarter. They’ll line up again Monday afternoon and finish the game. O’s softball game was washed out, too.

There are eight football games left on the schedule. And, more softball games, too. And, more history lessons because it is MORE IMPORTANT what we do AFTER we fail.

The first seven days of school have passed and I know almost all of my students by first name on sight. We are going to get down to business Monday and delve into early English settlements and the 13 colonies. I won’t bore you with that, yet.

There is failure ahead; I know it. It’s Sunday and church is on the agenda followed by a lot of chores and lesson planning for me, some homework for the kids, and weekly planning for the family. It’s gonna be a great day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And learn from my previous Sunday failures and make this day count. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one failure, followed by a success always moving forward.

How has a mistake or failure made you stronger?

8 thoughts on “Failure is expected….

    1. Thanks Phil – the team failed miserably Friday night – the Tigers ran into a D-line they didn’t expect and didn’t know how to deal with it. The coach is experienced and last year’s team began 1-4 and made it to the quarter-finals. My son is a bit frustrated, but he’ll get over it. it’s been a good weekend – Monday will be in the books before I know it! Enjoy your ‘last day of summer!’

  1. It sounds as though you had a great sports education. I was one of those kids who preferred to ‘lose’ her kit and take the resulting punishment rather than subject herself to freezing cold hockey pitches and the humiliations of the shower. I think it’s a well-known phenomenon among teenage girls, though luckily my own daughters didn’t feel quite as negatively as I did. Failure was indeed expected….. Looking forward to hearing some Civil War stories in a future post, and have a great week.

    1. School is off to a great start – the kids have today off and it’s Labor Day weekend – so they have four days to have fun and wrap up summer vacation. I am enjoying the year’s assignment and my students. I hope to have a few Civil War stories to share and tell. W and the Tigers play their second football game tonight – on the road. We’ll see how it goes. have a great day and wonderful weekend!

  2. Quotes I love: (1) Football is a game of failure with the victor being the team which fails the least. (Isn’t that so true of many things??!!) (2) It’s not what happens when you fail, it’s more important what you do after you fail. (It’s also so important to not be AFRAID to fail. Sounds like you make that possible in your classroom. Wish we had more LIKE you.) (3)Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” (I’ve always appreciated this one.) Thanks for a significant post. PS, your questions challenges me.

    1. Thank you. I teach with metaphors and speak about sports in class quite often. Sports and learning have many parallels and students who play a sport are more likely to be engaged and do well in school – on average. There are some exceptions on both ends. There are more teachers making a difference than we realize – I have 150 or so kids this year – I’ll make a big dent with some, not all – but there are five or seven more teachers that have a chance to make a difference for those I can’t or don’t reach this year. It’s a team effort at middle level education, a true team. I am very excited to teach history this year and I am looking forward to unveiling my timeline as the year rolls forward. Have a great week and thank you for stopping by.

Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?