Sunday, November 29, 2015

Super Bowl 2015 - The Brief Look at Prior Years

Ah, the Gridiron Game.  Football is a special sport when we're talking about youth sports.  The kids learn teamwork, perseverance, character and other traits that you can't get replicate in any other setting.  And while injury concerns hover over the sport, I can't help but think that everyone should play this sport if even for a year.

This season marks the 5th year that I have coached G's team.  Ever since the boys were 2nd Graders, struggling to score touchdowns and preventing the other team from doing the same, the boys learned a lot about teamwork, dealing with frustration and perseverance.  That was a defining year though because, in addition to the character goals that we have always had, I was determined to help the kids with their stated goal - the Super Bowl.

3rd Grade was what we were hoping would be the first year of a dynasty.  Armed with the kids who learned a lot from the year before, the team added a couple of handful of kids who could play and were aggressive.  Going 6-1-1, we waltzed into the Super Bowl after beating one of our rivals in the semifinals 26-0.  We even took a police escort and a bus to get to the site.  We had a "carb-loading" party.  Ultimately, we were unsuccessful in falling to a tougher team 12-6.  While some of the kids were crying after that game, other kids started to look determined. 

4th Grade was a tough year.  We struggled all year in every aspect.  Coaching especially.  Thinking that we were going to get better and beat the same opponents that we beat the year before, we actually struggled against all of them.  We ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs, 22-6.

5th Grade had the same end result, despite the fact that we had a better season.  The team fared better with an increased emphasis on the passing game.  We ended up losing in a literal nor'easter 8-0 to the same team that we lost the Super bowl to in 3rd Grade. The boys worked hard though, harder than they ever had.  Although we lost in the first round, the boys measurably improved over 4th Grade.  The JV team experienced a renaissance of sorts finishing the year undefeated, 7-0.

Through these years, a lot of players came and went.  But the same core remained through those 4 years and it lead me to believe that we were finally going to be seeing a real success.  When I met with one of the coaches before this year - 6th Grade - I declared that this was going to be our chance to win the elusive, broken, trophy.  We had a couple of laughs about it, but I truly thought that that was attainable this year.

The 6th Grade year was successful.  The boys, including an injection of new players, really seemed to be clicking.  Despite a couple of stinkers in the Metro South area, we were in a good position to finish 2nd or 3rd place in the league.  Either way, were going to have a favorable match-up in the semifinals to advance to the Super bowl.  In one of the most exciting games I watched, the boys held strong (including a game ending sack that actually caused me to jump for joy) to advance to the Super Bowl.  the team we were facing was a behemoth though and we were unlikely to win.  We wanted to keep the score close and work hard.  My goal was to win one quarter at a time.  If we did that, who knows what could happen.  Unfortunately, we turned the ball over 5 times and ended up on the wrong end of a 34-0 score.  Although we were unsuccessful, the boys performed at a high level, stood up against tougher teams and demonstrated a significant amount of intestinal fortitude.  It was great to see.

Now those 2nd graders have become 6th Graders.  Ready to take on the world.  I just hope that I have had a positive influence over them these past 5 years.  Good luck, boys!

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