Lessons from the Super Bowl

It’s Sunday night, and a week ago at this time I was watching the Super Bowl at the Prizmah national Jewish day school conference in Chicago. I was surrounded by Boston colleagues, as well as loyal Patriots fans transplanted outside of Massachusetts. We even had a few Falcons fans who braved the confident and dominant Patriot fan base. Even if you didn’t watch the game, and have never been a fan of football or professional sports, the lessons from that night extend far beyond game play and sportsmanship. Since the epic win, there have been articles outlining the unbelievable come-back and the sequence of plays which made it happen. There has been commentary about what it means to be a team and to believe in something greater than just one’s own abilities. The players and coaches have been quoted as saying they never gave up hope and kept on fighting. It didn’t matter that no team had ever come back from a deficit of more than 10 points in a Super Bowl and that there had never been a need for overtime play in a Super Bowl. The players were schooled in the philosophy of perseverance, hard work, trust in one another, and flexibility of thinking. When things weren’t going as expected, they kept on trying, didn’t give up hope, and relied on each other. What better lessons could there be for our children?

I can’t help but draw a parallel between this comeback and the renewed vitality and optimism surrounding our school. When I first considered the position as Head of School at Cohen Hillel, an educational recruiter told me that the challenges were too great and I should look elsewhere. Boy was she wrong! I knew that with a strong team, a clear vision, and a lot of hard work and heart, anything was possible. Look at us now: we had a close to twenty percent growth in enrollment last year; our numbers for next year look promising, with very strong interest in kindergarten; we have a faculty and staff that love coming to school every day and feel supported and energized in their work; and then, of course, there’s the recently announced gift of $5 million. Our future looks very bright as we work on a strategic plan that secures our position as an outstanding academic choice for children and our community. This effort will take tenacity, commitment, and trust; I know we have all those ingredients plus a few others.  

When he walked into the locker room at halftime, Patriots safety, Duron Harmon loudly proclaimed, “This is going to be the best comeback of all time!” I couldn’t agree more.