Man-of-few-words Marshawn Lynch may have had little to say leading up to the big game but he came up with a spot-on answer after the last ball was thrown. When he was asked if he was surprised he didn’t get the football, he said, “No. Because football is a team sport.”
With so much of the media attention and the glory going to a handful of players, it can be easy to forget but there is no doubt, football is a team sport. Although I have never played football, I have joined together with a team of people who share a vision and work together to achieve goals.
Currently I am on the PTA team at my daughters’ elementary school. On several occasions, I have used football analogies to describe this experience. For example, while serving as president, I got glimpses of what it could be like to be a quarterback. I know what it feels like to stand in the pocket with a group of people gunning for the ball, making it their job to rattle me. Luckily, I had the best offensive line of all time so I made it through all four quarters of my term without ever getting sacked. In addition to protecting me, these fearless ladies taught me that the value of having supportive people around you cannot be overstated.
I also learned when you build a solid arsenal and devise plays to showcase individual strengths, there are tons of ways to score touchdowns. We have running backs who take the ball all the way down the field; wide receivers who catch anything thrown their way; and tight ends who can do it all. Recognizing each player’s unique skill set allows everyone to contribute, which racks up points on the scoreboard and does wonders for team morale.
My most humbling moment and greatest learning experience came, as they often do, at the same time. While scrambling to get too much done at once, I fumbled the ball. Harsh critics, who (not surprisingly) have never played the game, almost took me out. Fortunately, we had an exceptional general manager at the time. The compassion, insight and direction she offered me in that moment taught me the art of fumble recovery, a lesson that continues to serve me in every area of my life.
We are also blessed to have a Hall of Fame PTA president on our roster. Her mentorship and open heart kept us going through challenging times and continues to have a game-changing impact on all of us.
I recently handed the ball over to a new president, opting to stay on as a special teams player. This affords me time on the sidelines between plays to watch pros in action. It’s nothing short of inspiring. I could not be prouder of our dedicated team leader or more in awe of how much all the players accomplish.
The most significant lesson I’ll take away is the power of connection. When teammates have a connection built on mutual respect and admiration, it brings out the best in everyone. That, in turn, makes magic happen; magic that shows up as miracle plays on the field; magic that inspires everyone watching and magic that makes us believe we can do anything we set our minds to.
As our children grow and demands on our lives change, my teammates and I may move in different directions. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to every member of our organization. The time I spend on the PTA gridiron makes me a better teammate, a better parent and a better person. If you ever see me dancing in the end zone, know that you moved the chains, making it possible for me to get there. And when you score touchdowns, look for me in the stands because I’ll be there, jumping up and down, cheering you on.