One More Effort
Two weeks ago, I can say I experienced one of the most challenging days and yet one of the most inspiring days that I can recall. As with all stories, it’s started as a Thursday like any other. My father called me around midday and I picked up the phone like I usually do when I’m talking to him, happily. He was calling, though, to inform me that my uncle had lost his battle with depression.
When things like this happen, the immediate question on everyone’s mind is “why”. It may be an answer that we never get.
That afternoon, knowing that there wasn’t anything I could contribute to the wider family at that time, I was asked to coach my eldest daughter’s touch football team. To be honest, I wasn’t much into it, but when you are part of a team its important to show up even when you don’t feel like it.
It was quickly apparent it would be a tough game. We had no substitutes as couple of the more talented players were away from the team for the afternoon. Their team was flush with substitutes. It was a warm afternoon. Five nine-year old young women would have to play the entire game with no breaks.
I had never coached them before, so for them, I was just Lily’s Dad who was filling in for their normal, excellent teacher/ coach. They had no real reason to play for me or do as I ask.
As the game wore on the girls were broken. I’ve never seen kids all look so bad at the same time. They were red-faced, gassed. Every one of them had a complaint, whether it be they had a stitch, felt sick, were going to pass out. They were busted. Lily, who is not a naturally gifted athlete (has other excellent qualities, but running wasn’t one of them), I could tell was on the verge of giving up.
At this stage, the other team had the ball. They were attacking our try line constantly.
All I could say to the girls was:
“Get back to the line, make one more effort”
“Just one more effort”
“I need you once more”
Every time, they found a way to get back. Every time, they found a way to get up and chase and make the touch.
When we did happen to get the ball, all I could ask of them was to slowly get out, do their best and try and grab some breaths when we weren’t under pressure.
At full-time, our girls had won the game, 7 to 5. They didn’t win because they scored fantastic tries (because they did), but because when the going got tough, they kept making one more effort.
I’ve never been prouder of kids in my life. They reminded me of what’s most important when things are hard.
It’s always just one more effort.
And the reason why, need only be- because I asked.