5 Life Lessons Learned from Rocket Football

This past Rocket Football season, which ended about a month ago, proved to be one of tremendous growth in my son’s football skills and in his personal maturity. And those same lessons that cultivated his growth have been planted in my spirit for fruitful growth as well.

1.) Hang on when you’re getting dragged through the mud. In one rather wet and muddy game, my son grabbed onto the leg of a rather large opponent who was carrying the ball and refused to let go even as he was drug through the mud. Eventually, my son’s teammates came to help tackle the ball carrier.

The lesson? This lesson does not involve letting others take advantage of you. Instead, it involves simply hanging on until help arrives, because help is always available to those who ask.

2.) Keep your head up! My son started the season missing way too many tackles because he dove for the player instead of keeping his head up & wrapping his arms around the ball carrier. As the season progressed, however, he learned to wrap up and close. When he focused in by keeping his head up, he made some terrific tackles.

The lesson? My focus gets off all to easily in my busy life, and I often miss opportunities. I’m learning to keep my head up – to keep my focus – and am also finding success like never before.

3.) Practice how you want to play the game. At first, practices held a bit too much social time and not enough practice for my son and many of the other boys on the team. My son gradually (with some “encouragement” from myself and my husband) began to understand that his habits in practice determined his success during the game. With this realization came more focus (as much as an 11-year-old can focus) and effort in every practice.

The lesson? Sometimes I get lulled into daily habits and routine, forgetting that my everyday focus determines my overall reality. I need to learn to better connect the two.

4.) Learn from mistakes and move on. In a single play of one of his games, my son received two penalties for blocking in the back. He had not yet been taught how to tackle a player he was catching from behind. He could have gotten discouraged after that play, but he instead choose to learn from it. He moved on and improved in his tacking as a result.

The lesson? Mistakes can limit you or shape you in a positive way. You choose.

5.) Don’t let your perspective be limited by others. In one practice drill, players took turns tacking someone carrying the ball while the rest of the team stood watching and were lined up to form a sort of tunnel where this drill took place. When my son’s turn came after half the team had completed the drill already, instead of tackling the ball carrier, he took the ball away from him. He simply saw an opportunity and took action.

The lesson? My son didn’t let what everyone else did confine his perspective. His ever-present ability to see things differently than others do inspires me to not let “the way things have always been done” confine me.

My son is not the biggest player on the team. Look at the picture to the right. See the Plainwell guy in blue in the middle of the picture with red tape on his helmet? My son is the little guy next to him. (For those who don’t know, red tape on the helmet means a kid is too big to carry the ball.)

My son often finds himself considerably smaller than his opponents. But his energy and tenacity never seems to wane. His never-give-up approach to football inspires me to change my outlook when I feel like life is relentlessly pursuing me like a linebacker going after a running back.

DISCUSSION: Which of these lessons resonates the most with you and why?

Subscribe to Struggle to Victory by Email or Subscribe in a reader

8 thoughts on “5 Life Lessons Learned from Rocket Football

  1. What? I've never even heard of Rocket Football? Is that the league or the team – or a completely different version of the game? Somehow I'm disappointed there are no stories or pictures of rockets in this post 🙂
    I actually laughed when you were mentioning your son taking the ball away from the other player in the drill. What an awesome encouragement to think outside of the box.

    • Rocket Football is just the league for kids up until the enter the school's program in high school. My son kind of runs like a rocket sometimes. He shoots to the other side of the field pretty fast sometimes. The coaches, parents and I all laughed when it happened too. It's tough for me to get outside of the box with him sometimes, but I am learning. He's SO good for me.

  2. I work hard at times to try and think outside the box. I know a different perspective helps at times. I know that when you are getting drugged through the mud it is hard to see help on the way. You just have to hang on and trust that it will show up. It is good to keep your head up as well to keep from getting run over and also to take in your surroundings. In this world I think so many people appear invisible to others and they feel invisible because they are not noticed and we should look for those souls and respond. Learn the janitors name, ask the young mom how she is doing, ask an older gentleman about himself. I also have drilled into my kids during sports practice that practice does not make perfect; that perfect practice makes perfect.

    • Great point about making sure we notice those who tend to go unnoticed. Feeling overlooked is a struggle I've had most of my life, so I should be better at not overlooking others. Thanks, Mark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *