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Reflections on the joy of football

Sometimes as a coach you forget why you were drawn to football in the first place.

Former Jets Coach Herm Edwards declared, "You play to win the game!" Being a Jets fan, I never liked the way he coached - and I've got to say, he couldn't be further from the truth.

You play to have fun - and winning, of course, makes it a lot more enjoyable.

But the reality is, when you remember the first time you threw that pigskin with your father or you tackled your older brother on your front lawn, it wasn't about winning, it was about having a blast.

It may sound absurd, but I was reminded of this Saturday when Ticonderoga's team literally wiped us off the field.

Now I could look at the game film and point out mistakes we made as coaches and players, but in actuality Ticonderoga was the better team, and to change that outcome, we would've had to play a perfect game.

One of the hardest things to do as a coach is keep your players motivated when they are losing. It gets tougher with each score. As a youth coach, I can tell you that sometimes our actions take that fun away.

But an epiphany that put everything in perspective came to me just before halftime when Ticonderoga was beating our senior team 26-0, and they were closing in on another score. Their quarterback dropped back, eyeing his receiver in the end zone.

As that ball sailed through the sky, in the blink of an eye, our defensive backs became pros. Mark Monthony obscured the view of the receiver as Joe Schuster intercepted the pass.

It was the look on their faces that reminded me that football is exhilarating even if you're losing. It didn't matter what the score was or what the conclusion would be.

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