It was the missed kick seen 'round the world: Minnesota Vikings player Blair Walsh failed to complete a 27-yard field goal in Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, thereby costing his team its chance to advance in the playoffs. Since the fumble, there's been no shortage of outrage and vitriol online. But one first-grade teacher in the Vikings' home state decided to encourage her students to have a more positive response to human error. It's called empathy, folks, and it's something far too many people are lacking in the age of social media.
"I knew that Mr. Walsh probably felt horrible about it," Northport Elementary's Judie Offerdahl said of the kick. "I also knew it would be a good teachable moment for the kids. We talked about when in your life have you made a mistake and how do you think he felt? We also talked about how you pick yourself up like Mr. Walsh did."
It's worth mentioning: Ms. Offerdahl is a Seahawks fan.
One little girl named Sophia wrote this in her letter: "I know that it can be hard to get through things that are sad. but you have to try and try again. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. One time I made a mistake when I was doing a cartwheel. I felt embarrassed. You can still help the Vikings win the Super Bowl next year." She signed it, "Your fan."
It seems the kids' words of encouragement, which they took turns reading to the entire class, meant a lot to the professional kicker, as he visited the class Thursday. Walsh thanked the young students from the bottom of his heart and told them the letters were "very touching," and "they cheered me up a lot."
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.