By Michael G. Murphy
Michael G. Murphy, 59, is Head of School at Seattle Country Day School, a K-8 school on Queen Anne, and has been an educator for 36 years. The Winona, Minn., native’s fondness for the NFL began in the late 1960s when he and his father watched Minnesota Vikings games together – outdoors at old Metropolitan Stadium – when Fran Tarkenton was quarterback.
The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 in convincing fashion over the Denver Broncos, 43-8. Our school, like much of Seattle, was swept up in all the excitement. From quarterback Russell Wilson to coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks not only were captivating, but they taught us a few things along the way.
Here are a few lessons and insights I shared with some students and staff:
1) Be a humble winner. Although I’ve been a Seahawks fan since moving to town 10 years ago, I grew up in Minnesota where the Vikings football team lost the Super Bowl four times. Several years ago, the Seahawks lost their first Super Bowl. We have all experienced profound disappointment. Thus, in a time of exuberant celebration, a reminder: Be a humble winner and a gracious runner-up. Such sportsmanship shows class and respect. That is why we shake hands at the end of a game or match.
2) Education is still the priority. Both quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning, attended independent schools K-12. While sports are important for both men, education was the priority. Both men completed their undergraduate degree in three years. Both are great role models. Both share credit for their success.
3) Find a balance. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll seems to include one key element in leading his team. While I’m sure lots of hard work goes into the team’s workouts and preparations, a healthy dose of fun seems present, too.
As Bobby Orr, the great hockey star, mentions in his recent autobiography, “Orr: My Story”, no matter how long or difficult the practices were at every stage of his ice hockey development, his coaches never took the joy out of the game. This is a good reminder for us as teachers and parents about how important it is to help instill the intrinsic love of learning in our students and children.
4) Keep your perspective. While a little good-natured teasing and taunting with your opponent may be OK, too much can be unseemly and make you appear smug. Most adults know and recognize the old adage: What goes around comes around.
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