My son’s high school team won its home opener this Friday. Penn State won Saturday. (Yes. I live a stone’s throw from the University of Arkansas, but I watched Penn State.) I couldn’t wait for Sunday, when the Steelers would play. That would be a two-fer for me. I’d get to see my favorite team and I’d get to see some Pittsburgh skyline shots. (Gee… do you think I might be homesick?)
Their game started off great. The very first play (kick off) they were gifted with a safety because of the other team’s error. They didn’t even have to do anything, and they had two points on the board. It was a great way to start the game. Then they drove the ball down the field on their first possession. I was overjoyed.
Until they fumbled near the end zone.
It kind of went downhill from there. Sacks, interceptions, punts, injuries… It was ugly. We had one good drive near the end and our offense finally put seven on the board, but we didn’t recover the onside kick. The Steelers lost, 9-16.
The good news is, the rest of our division lost, too. All four are tied for first place. Or last.
When the yelling and complaining and armchair coaching were over, I got to work. And as I prepared this post, I realized a few things.
- Hard work doesn’t always result in a win. It does make you a better person, though.
- Officials aren’t perfect (or they’re horribly biased). In short, life isn’t fair. Adapt.
- If your choice of entertainment raises your blood pressure, it’s no longer entertainment. It’s a health hazard. Reevaluate your attachment.
- In contests, there are clear winners and losers. But that doesn’t mean everyone can’t learn something from the process.
- There are more important things than winning. Like, how you conduct yourself in the face of adversity and how and with whom you choose to spend your time.
- Time spent with family is time to treasure. Years from now, no one will remember the score of the game, but everyone will remember the good times spent together.
We’ve got months left in the season. I’m going to try to keep my emotional investment to a minimum and just enjoy the sport for what it is—entertainment. Maybe you can help keep me in check. If I start ranting about the games, please remind me of this post.
Some of these lessons can be as important for your characters as they are for society. As you work, consider:
- How hard your characters work at both enjoyable and miserable tasks. What do they learn from their efforts?
- How one character can impact outcomes for another character. Do they make bad decisions resulting in more problems? How is that adversity coped with?
- Do your characters have unhealthy attachments to something? Can they change their attitudes? Do they need to? Is it a harmless vice or a dangerous addiction?
- At the end of a conflict or battle, have all of your characters grown and changed?
- Do your characters have an opportunity to make a choice between a habit and a loved one? Which do they choose and why? What are the consequences?
- How do your characters interact with loved ones? Can you write a scene or two about which, years from now, your characters would reminisce? One that is poignant enough for your readers to remember?
So everyone, what’s your take on these lessons? Why don’t you share (WIP stories or real life experiences) in the comments section?