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Lessons from a football loss
T hammond

Everybody loves a good win.

I hesitate as I type that because in today’s day and age of everybody gets a trophy I can’t help but wonder if that really holds true.

As I watched my team lose one heck of a Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 11 I couldn’t help but feel a bit of that mentality has pored over into professional sports.

I grew up watching football. As long as I can remember the San Francisco 49ers have played in every household in my family. Well, except mine the past several years, as we abandoned traditional television watching for streaming service which did not include sports. Yet, thanks to YouTube TV I’m thrilled to share we’re back in the sports game.

Yet I digress.

This month’s game was the second one in Super Bowl history where a game has gone into overtime. Not to mention the two teams in said overtime were at complete opposite ends by way of stats – one being led by “Mr. Irrelevant,” the last man of the 2022 draft pick and the other led by someone who was on the big stage for the third time in the past five years.

So as we went into overtime, as a viewing audience we quickly reviewed what that would mean.

“First to score wins, right?” I asked nervously, unsure if my team might be the one to do so. Debating the rule we knew to be true, I quickly did a Google search and learned of the change.

Paraphrasing: During the off season of 2022 it seems a new decision was made to make it fair and give each team a chance to score. Wait … what?

Listening to the official “start a new game,” I remained baffled and quite honestly I still am.

Keeping in mind of course, I am not a sport writer and perhaps penning this a bit out of character but come on. Overtime is overtime, first to score wins, what about that is not fair? And if that’s how it’s played then what is even the purpose of doing another coin toss?

Then of course there’s also the whole “Swiftie Nation” and what it’s brought to the game. I’m going to opt out here on speaking of the air time given to the pop super star and speak strictly to the disgust I felt seeing her man challenge his coach in the game of a lifetime.

Personally I know little about Travis Kelce. Google informed me he’s a premium tight end, makes $14 million a season and he was drafted by the Chiefs in 2013. Now he’s the main squeeze of Taylor Swift and football fans, as well as parents across the country, seem to have a lot to say about that.

As a parent and an athlete, I honestly don’t care who the guy dates. He’s not the first and will hardly be the last pro athlete to date a celebrity, but let’s talk a minute about his disrespect for his coach. As a parent and an athlete I was (and still am) appalled. For those who missed it, it came following a fumble by the Chief’s Isiah Pacheco, as Kelce watched from the sidelines. Clearly frustrated and feeling he could’ve done better, Kelce got in the face of longtime Chiefs Coach Andy Reid, as well as attempted to grab him by the arm.

A true seasoned professional, Reid blew him off and eventually Kelce was returned to the field. Brat move, in my humble opinion, one which should have placed him on the bench for the remainder of the game.

Reading on this topic, I have yet to find a piece written defending Kelce’s behavior. That’s refreshing. There are however numerous articles with speculation: had Reid benched him, he’d have lost his job; a fine would do nothing; refs wouldn’t eject a player for behavior of this nature and of course had he been a B player versus who he is, this story would have played out drastically different.

Professional athletes, just like celebrities, like it or not are role models. Yes, I understand they too are human, yet they’re humans with many eyes (especially young ones) watching. Challenging a coach in such a manner, I don’t care who you are, is classless and disrespectful. That’s what young eyes saw on Sunday, Feb. 11 – one of the best in the game be so bold and full of himself that he challenged his coach during live play with no repercussions.

But, everybody gets a trophy right? No longer do we speak for what’s right, accept life isn’t always fair and learn the hard way. Now we must walk on egg shells, worry more about feelings and less about lessons.

I worry for this generation and all the softness that’s been put into play. As a mother who does not parent this way, it’s not been easy for kids growing up with kids who have. Now however as they grow, get jobs, become responsible they’re grateful for mom sometimes being their least favorite person. They’re better for it and then there’s Sunday.

A game I will not soon forget, an outcome I’m still a bit confused by and a player who is at the center of the world’s attention professionally and personally who rather than publicly apologizing for his ill behavior blew it off post-game with, “Oh you saw that? I was just telling him I love him.”

As a long time Niners fan there are two things I can say for sure: proud of our team for making them work hard for that win and cheers for what’s to come. If there’s one thing San Francisco sports fans know, it’s nail-biting finishes, hard work and not everybody gets a trophy.

— Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.