Your team has started 0-2, now what?

Following week two of the Minnesota high school football season unofficially there are 104 teams who started their seasons with two losses.  In a society that seeks instant gratification, it can be easy for a teenager who maybe did not miss an offseason workout or preseason practice to question whether everything he has done to prepare was for naught.  Welcome to life young football player, but you have so much left to play for.

No one likes to lose, obviously that is not what you nor your coaches signed up for.  On the bright side with plenty of season remaining your team still has the same opportunity as teams that are currently undefeated.

So, what can you do to salvage your season when things seem bleak?  There are the common answers such as watch more film, spend more time studying the playbook, condition harder, but remember football is a team game requiring everyone to row the boat in the same direction.

Here are some ideas for you, the football player to help your team out of the early slump.

Be a leader.  You do not have to be the starting quarterback, a captain, or even a senior to assert yourself as a leader.  It starts with your attitude.  Are you showing up to practice with the same excitement and energy as you did when the preseason started, or are you just going through the motions.  Avoid developing a “loser’s limp.”  Pick yourself and your teammates up when you are down.

Be grateful.  Football like every other team sport does not last forever, which is why when your parents, coaches, or former players tell you “it goes fast” and “embrace the opportunity you have,” listen to them!  Forget your team’s record and show up every day thankful that this is your time to wear the team colors with the whole community cheering for you under the Friday night lights in the fall.

Gain perspective.  Football is a metaphor to life.  Things will not always go your way in life so how you handle adversity from a game or a season will go a long way in your development as a human being.  There are kids and adults alike who would trade spots with you in a heartbeat.    

Make memories.  Team dinners, movies, or just hanging out with the fellas will be times that you will never forget. Listen to the song “Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney, even play it in the locker room.  The words will remind you and your teammates that together you are a brotherhood working towards a common goal.

Watch football.  Between college football and the NFL, you can find a football game on TV almost every day of the week.  Spend a couple series focusing on the position you play, spend the rest of the games just enjoying them.  From the excitement of pregame coverage like ESPN’s College GameDay or Fox’s NFL Sunday, to the sights and sounds of the game, there is nothing better than knowing you get to compete that way when your next game rolls around.

Best of luck with the remainder of your season. Enjoy the journey, and remember wins and losses are part of the experience of playing football not the definition of you or your team.