Lessons from Sports

For this article, writing from lessons in football.

                The purpose of this article is a very positive one.  The point of the article is to discuss the principles all around us as guide to decisions.  For I truly believe we learn a ton from others, who in turn, can learn from others.  In the world of football, in part due to an audience, a sort of “connection” exists.

                Recently, while watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers, I learned the head coach had been released.  In that moment, there were two things that came to mind.  When I saw Scott Frost a couple years back, I thought then he was not going to take the team far, but also gathered with good players and assistant coaches, they might get some good bowl games.  While I also thought, through the television screen, that Scott appeared a “good guy,” someone I would like to talk with about the game, I also thought his direction might not be National Championships.  Not everyone will get there.  And when Scott Frost was released, the next game was very difficult for them to say the least.  In other words, letting Scott Frost go isn’t going to turn the Cornhuskers into a tremendously winning team.

                We have seen this type of thing time and again.  The team isn’t winning?  Let the head coach go.  He must be the reason for less wins, or, the organization is going to have to show the public a better direction. We’re not getting enough passing yards, let the quarterback go, or trade him.  Then, some teams with other changes that are supposed to make all the difference, share expectations of great possibilities in the near future.  And often, the expectations are never met. It doesn’t seem to make much difference all the changes they make throughout the years.  And as I see it, that’s an opportunity, even if it takes years, to regroup and discover what the purpose of the  organization is, should be, and if it’s winning, how to get there.

                I’ll try it this way, but I don’t want to make this the entire reasoning.  Aaron Rodgers may go down in history as the best quarterback of all time to only reach and win one Super Bowl.  But in that, we can also both appreciate and realize the tremendous accomplishment of Tom Brady.  For where all so many wish for one chance at the biggest game, Tom’s been there 10 times, winning 7, and may get another chance this year.  And 14 championship games.  Never a losing season.  And it’s not a fluke. It’s not all luck. And he was careful to sign up with a team, Tampa Bay, that has a good set-up.  He was one additional and key component.  But that decision demonstrated his winning mindset, for along the way, he also brought in additional winning players. 

                When Aaron Rodgers speaks on television, and I recognize I don’t know the man, having never met him, I sense he is not about winning Super Bowls.  It’s just an impression, but often, those impressions are correct.  But I saw a man who winning “it all” isn’t his focus, or, something is going on in him that keeps him away, though he might not know what that is.  Perhaps a block of some kind (Perhaps, inwardly, he does not want to be defined by Super Bowls.).  With Tom Brady, I see a guy dedicated to winning at the highest level and never gets tired of it.  As such, he will look for every opportunity.  Even the smallest edge.    

                I’ll try it another way.  I believe when players walk onto the field with Aaron Rodgers, they all feel like they’re going to win the game.  When players walk onto the field with Tom Brady, they all believe they’re not only going to win, but they’re going to win the Super Bowl.  The effect Tom has on people around him, but also what he sees in them, makes a tremendous difference.  But he’s also aware to choose where winning it all is the team concept. The goal. With Tom Brady, it might mean one less fumble, one more field goal, one more first down, or going for it on 4th down.  It might just be believing. But it’s about always going forward.

                The “decision makers” might have gotten it right to remove Scott Frost from Nebraska: if their goal is to win big, but I will say Scott Frost wasn’t the problem.  I believe there is a “mindset” in Nebraska that will keep them from winning any big games.  Perhaps it’s a culture of sorts.  But whatever it is, whatever their focus, whatever the distractions and different goals, Nebraska as they stand are not about winning and going to the Championships. Not yet.

                And all of this can be a lesson for us.  We don’t look to blame others for what we can do ourselves. We don’t look for excuses, but to see where we can improve. But if we are working someplace that isn’t going in the same direction, then we realize that, do our best, and never grumble over what we can’t control. And I believe, if we believe, things do work out far better in the long run. If, along the way, we surround ourselves with the more positive type people, positive things happen (I remember saying to stay away from psychic vampires.).  If we develop worthwhile skills, we are better able to do more, such as changing the car brakes, fixing the wiring in our home, and so forth, even learning to write well that impacts how we talk in professional settings (The little things often affect bigger things.).  If our focus is positive, then that has good directions.  Perhaps what we read, who we talk with and socialize, and what we do when times are challenging has much to do with our lives.   It’s a ponder. 

**I must add one more thing. Winning the Super Bowl, or National Championship, is not the most important thing in life. And none of this is about getting the most money, having the biggest home, and driving a Maserati. However, if one enjoys the game of football, then succeeds, or another person enjoys the business world and grows multiple companies, it’s all good. But as I see it, it’s a person’s outlook and integrity.

**I always remember Tim Tebow, who took a Denver team that was all but out of playoff contention, then helped the team both get to post season, also winning against the Steelers along the way. And he didn’t have all the talent. But his presence on the team, I believe, had a very positive impact on those around him. I’ve always thought he would make an excellent coach.


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