The Agony of Defeat in Football

Football is just a game, right? Wrong! For millions of football players and fans, football is a way of life. It combines the will to win, esprit de corps, single combat, strategy, discipline, talent, luck, and charisma, and each player, as well as the team and the fans can experience all of these things. A football game can bring out a range of emotions in both players and fans.

Team flags mounted on houses and cars stay up or come down quickly depending on the outcome of a football game. A game won by your team becomes a license to yak about it among family, friends, office workers, and even at church. A game loss = take a sick day at work so you don’t have to listen to the yakking from fans of the opposing team. But, who has skin in the game? Most agree that each player on both teams in a football game perform in the front line of victory and defeat. The players put everything on the line.

Each football player knows that family, friends, schoolmates, church members, and essentially everyone important in their life watches them play. Even before the game begins, each player wrestles with worry, fear, and self-doubt. Many of them pray, seek support from their team mates, or go over in their minds both their best and their worst former plays. Every player wants his team to win. Each player strives for heroic effect. Their greatest fear: Personal failure, captured on film, played over and over again. «He lost the game!»

Logically, a game loss after one hour of play time cannot stick to the actions of one player who failed in a single play. But, this is football! Football shall be won or lost. If an official does not assign a penalty, then you did right by doing whatever it takes to get it done. Put everything you have into each play. So, what happens to a player who does this and he fails to deliver.

Watch a video on the Vikings-Saints 2017 NFC playoff game late in the fourth quarter. See a Saint deliver a tackle on where a Viking should have caught the ball. Yet, the Viking came down from his leap to catch the football in an unpredictable way. See the agony of defeat on the Saint who missed the tackle which enabled the Vikings to win. Watch a video on the 2017 Army-Navy Football Game late in the fourth quarter. Watch the Navy kicker attempt a 48-yard field goal in snow, and just barely miss it. See the Navy kicker endure the agony of defeat when he realizes that his moment to win for Navy passed away like a snowflake.

For many players, their agony will haunt them for the rest of their lives. It shouldn’t; it’s just a game, right? #Tag1writer

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