When you think of your “home team,” what comes to mind? Is it your family or your favorite sports team? Why don’t we put as much energy and passion into celebrating our family or our school as we do our favorite football team? This post is part of a series we are starting with our #DadsAsPrincipals group of educational leaders making connections to the Super Bowl and our lives as dads and leaders.
I am a huge football fan. I played football growing up continued through college. I have been watching the NFL every week since I was a kid. When I was four, we moved from Chicago and a year later the Bears defense, Walter Payton, and “The Fridge” took the championship game. Then growing up in Pittsburgh where being a Steelers fan is a way of life, I had no choice. Seriously. In Pittsburgh, Steelers apparel was as common as stone-washed jeans, Starter jackets, and No Fear t-shirts. Go to the store, and everyone from little kids to great-grandmas were sporting black and gold, and that was before the successful runs to the Super Bowls with big Ben.
But as a father and as a school leader, I’m starting to see the emotional investment to sports through a different lens. I think I’m tainted by the over-the-top comments of players talking about how their season was a massive struggle because of a mere ankle injury or how it’s them ‘against the world’ because they were a expected to lose by 3 points. Is that really struggling? Is that really the message of hard work and toughness I want my kids to see? I’m not as sure as I used to be. Seeing the posts on social media of fans literally running around screaming, crying, and thanking God that their team won, it just strikes me as our society is a little out of touch with our priorities.
What if we celebrated like this when our school met their benchmarks of achievement, or the high school graduation rate soared, or members of our community were connected to jobs that could feed their family? Those things happen and there’s little discussion or fanfare. I don’t know that I want my kids seeing me completely losing my mind when a football team wins or loses a game, yet when they do something great I hardly acknowledge it. I think my number one team should be my family. How I root for them and the passion I show should match that mindset.
Recently we recognized teachers who were nominated for Teacher of the Year for our school division. At the ceremony I have my tradition of obnoxiously standing and cheering for my teachers when they are called up. People looked at me strangely, probably judging me and wishing I wasn’t so loud. Meanwhile I was thinking, ‘Why aren’t you doing the same for your team?’ Why do we cheer like crazy for our favorite sports teams and musicians but quietly golf clap for our favorite teacher?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not there yet. This season, I still almost threw the remote control through the back of the TV when the Steelers lost to the Patriots this year and I still make my kids all wear jerseys on game day no matter what they really want to wear…but at least I’m trying to be better.
My oldest just came home today with straight A’s on her report card. It’s time to practice what I preach. It’s time to celebrate!
What’s your connection to the Super Bowl as a dad and a principal or educational leader? Share using #dadsasprincipals and help us grow together as dads and leaders!