I mean no disrespect. But the facts thus far lead me to believe the Burgundy & Gold is destined to be in the losing column this season. And in our home, that makes one 8 year old little dude feel alright.
You see, we've had a pretty tough run with organized sports. Our first foray – 6 year old soccer – was a disaster. We thought it was supposed to be a learning league. We had no idea we'd face teams of mini-Ronaldinhos who had been renting private fields and training all summer. After several brutal losses, one teammate summed it up in a heaving, tear-streaked meltdown on the sidelines: "This is the worst team EVER!" he screamed. Not exactly words of motivation to build on.
Though the bitter sting of failure lingered just below the surface, this fall my son decided to try again. Not "futbol" – but football. Imagine our trepidation. We agreed that flag football through a city rec league would be a good place to start.
It hasn't been easy. The boys, mostly second graders, faced opponents who were way bigger and much more intense. Seriously. One team was actually running named plays during pre-game warm ups while our guys were fiddling with their mouth guards and chasing bugs. Still, once the whistle blew they gave it their best. Over the next eight weeks, the boys dropped more balls than they caught. They jumped offsides more than they should. They sometimes forgot which direction they were supposed to be running in, yet still managed to eke out a few wins.
A 3-5 season, in most circles, would not be something to be proud of. But much like the Redskins 3-6 record, the numbers don't tell the whole story.
We didn't start off with much -- but week by week we watched them improve: better handoffs, more confidence, less reliance on one standout player, and a defense that finally figured it out.
More than that, they showed up every Saturday believing that a win was possible. And sometimes they still got their butts whupped.
The day after those tough losses, my son and I would watch Redskins games. To an eight year old, professional football players are super-heroes. And super-heroes can be losers, too.
"Look at RG III, "I'd tell him. "He makes millions of dollars to play football. He practices almost every day of the week. He plays his heart out – but that doesn't mean he'll always win."
Winning is easy. Losing with grace and determination is much, much harder.
That is the lesson I want my son to take away from this, and any other athletic season in his life.
So, to you, my dear Redskins -- While I really want you to have a successful season, just know that when you don't win, you'll be showing at least one little boy that he can lose - just like you - and still be pretty special.