Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

BELDING: Lessons Learned from a Losing Quarterback


Set hut! The ball is in the quarterback’s hands and a receiver is open downfield. The quarterback lets the ball fly but doesn’t see the defender. The ball is picked off. No one can catch the defender — he just scored a touchdown! 

I often witnessed this scene when I played intramural flag football last semester with my friends. Although I was on the quarterback’s team and often found myself losing, I am glad I went through the experience. To me, participating in a sport, whether club or intramural, is integral to an education and the college experience. 

Every Tuesday, my team would assemble on Kehoe Field and strategize for the night’s game. Regardless of the effort we put in, we would usually lose. Despite that, being out on the field every week showed me that everyone should participate in some form of team sports as a part of their education. Whether it was dealing with failure, negativity or becoming a better team player, playing flag football taught me great lessons. 

My friends were not the most enthused to participate in our weekly game — they dreaded losing. As the season went on, it became clear to me that my friends and I were operating on different value systems. While they were motivated by winning, I was just out there to have fun. Recognizing and understanding this difference has translated to my classwork as well. 

I have realized that being driven by the enjoyment of learning is important to stay motivated in classes. I would be lying if I said that I am always excited to go to class — but still, I strive to embody this mentality. Seeing my friends and teammates reluctant to go out and play reminds me that the way I approach my classes dictates how much effort I’m willing to put in. As such, I urge everyone to find joy in classes, even the boring ones. 

When playing football, there is one position that everyone wants to play — quarterback. I am no different. I wanted to be the gunslinging, commanding leader of the team, taking us to the championship. That all ended after the first game. I snapped the ball, read the field and threw. In my head, the throw was perfect. I was going to thread the needle between two defenders and we were going to get a touchdown. But the ball barely made it halfway to where I wanted it. I realized that I couldn’t read a defense, throw or even catch. 

This rather important detail made me realize that our team needed a new strategy. After calling a timeout, we switched up positions and redesigned our offense to actually fit our playing style. Those that could catch would play deeper. The shorter ones and the ones that couldn’t catch would play closer to the quarterback, to receive softer tosses. And finally, the quarterback could actually make some deep throws. 

This is also applicable to school. Everyone has unique skill sets that they bring to the table — it’s crucial to ensure that they are used well. Just as I can’t catch well and must adapt my football to succeed, I’m a visual learner — so I need to see a PowerPoint or lecture in front of me; I can’t just listen to a professor speak the entire time. When it comes to working on any team, whether a group project or club, everyone brings something different to the table. To be able to recognize your own individual flaws is the key to success, even if that means giving up whatever it is you want to do the most. 

As much as I can preach these lessons I learned, it is important to experience these for yourself. Whether it is intramural flag football, club rugby or even a varsity sport, participating in any form of sport, even as a team manager, will enhance an education and teach valuable lessons. 

Brinley Belding is a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences. This is the second installment of his column “Just Thinking.”


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