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A Mother’s Take: Super Bowl LVIII

By February 23, 2024June 20th, 2024No Comments

Marsha Aizumi

Often, I get inspiration to write about things from the most random thoughts or experiences. This month, I got my idea from football of all places. My husband and I have been watching a lot of it. I am not really a big sports fan, but it is a way for Tad and I to spend time together. I would rather curl up under a soft blanket with a good book and be serenaded by the rain. So, I was surprised that I got into football. First, I was rooting for the home team, the LA Rams. Then when they lost, I would root for teams that moved me by their players or stories.

One of the stories that resonated with me was that of the Detroit Lions coach, Dan Campbell. I loved how the players trusted him and how he trusted and built up his players. Jared Goff, the Lion’s quarterback, said, “He (Dan Campbell) listens to his players and lets them do what they do well.” Such sage advice.

It reminded me that you can have the best players, but if the team is not supporting the same vision, then they are not unified. This quote always resonated with me. … “You are either supporting the vision or supporting division.” A winning team is built on trust, belief and being unified behind a single focus. I have seen this all around me in ways of success and when not present, failure.

I think about organizations or families as a team. I remember when our family was not aligned behind a singular vision for Aiden. Our team lacked trust, and we didn’t believe that our family could be happy or smile again when Aiden first came out. I did not trust myself as a mom because I thought I was a bad mother, and I am sure Aiden did not trust that I would stand by his side.

It was only when our family came together to support Aiden 100 percent, discussed things that were awkward and uncomfortable then unified under one vision that things in our family began to change.

We trusted each other, believed in each other and told each other the truth in a kind and respectful way. I have been involved in organizations and companies where trust was not present. Decisions were based on not doing what was right, but people having to be right. Goals and dreams were not achieved or took longer because of the misalignment.

Going back to the Detroit Lions, their win-loss record over the last three years showed the challenges they had to overcome. The first year Dan Campbell was the coach, they had a horrible record (3 wins, 13 losses), but the Lion’s leadership stayed with Campbell. I am sure the message from management was that “we believe in you and trust you will build a great team.”

My friend’s dog, Windsor, suited up for the big game. (Photo: Brian Bond)

Coincidentally, that was the same message that Goff received from Campbell when he was traded to the Lions. … I trust you, Jared, and you will help us build a great team. The second year, the Lions had 9 wins, 8 losses, which was better. Their belief and trust was growing. And now in 2023, they had 12 wins, 5 losses and were NFC North champions.

I don’t know if that is seen as a comeback, but I think it is pretty extraordinary. And though they didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, I hope they felt like they were almost there, and that next year will be built on what they learned and what to do even better. I will be cheering for them.

As for me and the Super Bowl, I was torn between rooting for my home state team, the 49ers, but being drawn to the Kansas City Chiefs and their story. My husband said the Chiefs were the underdogs. Tad and I both like underdogs … me because I like to believe that no matter what other people say, people create their own reality.

So, Tad and I watched the game. I think I was just a tiny bit happier with the result.

In some ways, I just cheer for the underdog because when others say they are not good enough, they have to dig deeper and believe in themselves even more. It is so easy to listen to others and forget who we really are. I hope I never forget who I really am, no matter what other people say or think about me.

Marsha Aizumi is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and author of the book “Two Spirits, One Heart: A Mother, Her Transgender Son and Their Journey to Love and Acceptance.”