Messing Up

December 14, 2007
By Boyd Hayes, Wilmore, KY

Do you ever mess up? Of course you do. We all do. It’s just part of human nature. Very rarely do we get it right the first time. Due to this, nothing ever gets done, right. No. Somehow, we get stuff done. I believe in giving and getting second chances.
“C’mon guys, get it right!” We had been practicing for hours. Our new shotgun formation was so complicated, and we just couldn’t get it. We tried, and tried, but couldn’t get it right. At first, we got a grace period because it was new to us, but when we still couldn’t get it right two practices later, Coach was just plain angry. Have you ever seen what someone looks like when they keep trying to figure out a puzzle but it just doesn’t happen? That’s kind of how it was with the coach. He started out slightly frustrated, but after a while, he just got ticked-off. He made us do up-downs after a couple more practices without success. The thing I noticed, though, was that Coach kept giving us a chance to finally figure it out. He didn’t say “Fine, we just won’t run that formation!” He kept letting us practice. As we went, we finally got it right. That weekend, we played LCA. We were down until the final drive, when we used our shotgun formation to march down the field and score. Thanks to the coach giving us about 500 second chances, we had success.

This is when I began to realize a pattern. Second chances = success. I play a lot of flag football, whether it is with my friends or in gym. In this case, it was in gym. Midway through the game, the opposing teams quarterback quit, so I switched teams. My new team was down twelve points and had nobody who wanted play QB. I volunteered. First play of the drive, I threw the ball to Josh. When the ball hit his hands, it bounced off like rubber. I immediately thought “What a bonehead move. I won’t pass to him again.” This wasn’t nice and it definitely wasn’t fair, but it was what I thought at the time. Two plays later, and we had to score. I snapped the ball and took three steps back. I surveyed the field and saw that nobody was open. As the defender got close to tackling me, the first person I saw was Josh. Holy cow! Why did it have to be Josh? HE CAN’T CATCH! I looked and saw Blake, but then I thought, “At least give Josh another chance.” So I threw the ball to Josh. He stretched out with one hand and made the catch with one foot in-bounds. After that, Josh became my go-to-guy. Not only did we end up winning the game, but I wasn’t having mean thoughts towards Josh, which is a good thing.

Through my past two stories, it has become more and more evident that giving and getting second chances is vital to success. As apparent as it was in those stories, it is no more evident in any story than in this one. About two weeks into the season, I missed a full week of practice and a game for having the flu. This dropped my trustworthy points with my coach a whole bunch. In the regular world, the flu is a pretty good excuse to stay home, but in football, it you can walk, you can play. So even when I was back to 100%, the coach was reluctant to put me in. This worried me so, so, so much. I hate being benched! It has only happened to me a couple times, and this was one of them. I didn’t start the next game and I didn’t even go in until the fourth quarter. This was very disappointing to me. That next week at practice, I gave it my all. Everything I had was left on the field at practice that week. I would get home, take a shower and go to bed at 7:30. Basically, I worked my butt off. At the end of the week, on Friday, the coach walked up to me and said “Boyd, your hustle in practice this week was really impressive. I’ll let you start this game.” Yes! I got another chance to prove myself. I had a great game and the coach was really happy with me. I secured a starting position for the rest of the season. I found that you need to work for second chances sometimes, and that when it comes to second chances, not only can they mean success for your team, but it can also mean success for you individually.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” You aren’t always going to get it right the first time. That’s okay. Just make sure that whenever you get “benched”, you take advantage of your next opportunity to show your stuff.

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