I sat on the bleachers, watching the eighth football game of the season. Glancing at the scoreboard, I sighed. The score was 21 – 0 at halftime. The other parents and I cheered as the boys took the field. “Come on, boys! Let’s go! You can do it!” Then we turned to each other and said, “Oh please, let them at least score. One touchdown, just one touchdown! A fieldgoal! A safety! Anything!”
After eight games in which our boys hadn’t scored a single point, we had given up hope for a win and were simply praying the kids could at least put some points on the board. It’s funny; several weeks ago we cheered for the boys and watched the games, believing they could pull off a win. Over time, however, our cheers changed a little bit.
WEEK ONE: Woo Hoo! Football season is here! Let’s go, Wildcats! I miss football! This is so fun and exciting! Woohoo! Yipee!
WEEK TWO: Yay! It’s football day! Look, I painted my nails orange and blue to show team spirit! Let’s go, Wildcats! Forget about last week! You can do it!
WEEK THREE: Okay, game three! It’s time to get serious! No more Mr. Nice Guy! Time for a WIN! Let’s go, guys! At least put up a fight this week.
WEEK FOUR: Come on, guys. Let’s try to score this week. One touchdown. Just one touchdown! How many more games do we have?
WEEK FIVE: We’re pretty much out of the running for the play-offs, right? Oh well. Come on, guys. Let’s try to get a first down! Just one first down. You can probably do it!
WEEK SIX: Well, at least no one was taken off the field on a stretcher this time. How many more games are there?
WEEK SEVEN: Well, at least we didn’t lose more than 100 yards this game. Maybe the next game they won’t sack their own quarterback.
WEEK EIGHT: Make it end. Make the pain end! Oh, thank God the season is almost over. I’m so tired of football taking up every Saturday. One more game. Just one more game . . .
So, what do you do when your kid is on a losing team? Encourage him to have fun! Focus on the joy of playing the sport. Remind him of the skills he’s learning while practicing. Cheer him on and stay upbeat and positive. And, of course, bring sippy cups of rum to the games, make friends with other parents in the stands so you have people with whom you can commiserate, and start making plans to sign your child up for piano lessons next season.
Dawn is a single mother to six kids who has spent half her life watching their sporting events (and she has the “bleacher butt” to prove it).To read more from Dawn, check out her hilarious books Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) and You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) here!
If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.