Sunday, September 21, 2008

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Jared's team had their first win on Friday! I was so proud of him, the other coaches, and the boys. It was Jared's second game as the offensive coordinator, too, so I was an especially proud coach's wife.

I took the saying above, "winner winner, chicken dinner," from the blackjack movie, 21 (good movie, by the way). Being a coach is a little like "strategic" gambling. They have a game plan, they practice, they study the game and their opponents, but every Friday the coach puts his career on the line. It's a scary thing to know that your career can depend on the way a 15-year old executes a play. It's kind of like putting your money out on the table and hoping the cards fall your way. Yet, it's exhilarating.

When Jared's team loses, we both get that pit in our stomachs--just sort of sick filling. I personally relate this feeling to tournament poker. Jared and I love to play Texas Hold 'Em, but there is nothing like playing a tournament for hours-on-end and into the wee hours of the night just to "miss the money" (if the top three players get paid, and you're number four, you "missed the money"). In addition to all the practice and planning, the boys fight for four long quarters. That's a lot of work to walk away with nothing.

Sometimes in poker, you play exactly like you should have, or at least the best that you're capable of, but you just get beat. Same with football. Or, you know you made a bad call or fold and you torture yourself by replaying it over and over in your head. Jared replays every game in his head. Even when they win, he questions calls he made.

Oh, but the joy of a win! It's funny--when I play poker and win, I can't wait to play again, but if I lose, I'm just not excited to get back into it. When the boys win, it makes it all worthwhile. All the long hours, all the frustration in dealing with teenage boys, all the pressure of job security (or lack thereof) just seems worth it. It seems like a risk worth taking.

Sometimes you just have to take a gamble and see what cards you're dealt.

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