Football season is upon us. It has become America’s pastime. It is our country’s most popular sport and continues to grow every year. This week’s blog will focus on three things we can take from the NFL and apply to our lives.
The National Football League is often referred to as just three letters, the NFL. There is a common saying associated with the league, Not For Long. This means several things but it is most commonly associated with the longevity of playing careers. The average length of a player’s career is less than 4 years. Most NFL running backs start a sharp decline when they hit the age of 30.
The three words, Not For Long, are something we should keep in mind at all times. First, whether we are going through the best or the worst of times, we need to remember that it won’t last forever. Keeping this in mind will help with perspective. It will remind us to cherish the good times because they can be taken away in a heartbeat. Another way to look at this is living in the moment. By doing this, we block out past mistakes and focus on living each day to its fullest. It is the only way to attain sustainable success. This mindset will help us get through the tough times as well. There is a quote in my school’s gymnasium lobby that sums this up perfectly, “Tough times don’t last, tough kids do.” This quote refers to the great flood of 1993 and how the school’s community pulled through it. The quote has become a favorite of mine. Pain is temporary; however, if we dwell on it, it can linger forever. Tough times are just dark clouds passing over. Last year, I used a quote to help my basketball team learn to move on after a tough loss. I told them, “If you want to see the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.” The girls on the team poked a little fun at me about this, but they took it to heart and it really helped us as the season progressed. Players were able to put their mistakes behind them and focus on the next play. If we can remember that the tough times do not last and that the good ones can be taken away in an instant it will provide continued happiness.
Very few players in the NFL get to leave the game on their own terms. The majority, no matter how great their career was, get cut somewhere along the way. Injuries force many to retire from the game before they are ready to quit playing. So when they have the opportunity to win big, they must be prepared to give it everything they’ve got to win that championship. During the preseason, rosters begin at 93 players and must be trimmed to 53 by the first regular season game. Over 1,200 players will get cut; some get signed to other teams’ rosters or practice squads. In order to have that happen, they must have good tape from the preseason. The tape must show effort and ability. The second lesson is effort. We must all give great effort no matter where we are at in our lives. If the effort we give varies from day-to-day or year to year, we are not reaching our potential and limiting our future options. If we put our best effort out there, people will notice. Our best will be on tape and it will help us down the road. In the NFL, if a player does not give great effort, they get cut. When things come together and the opportunity is there to do something great, we must take action and give it our best. We cannot hesitate or wait for another opportunity to present itself because we are not guaranteed anything. We must strike while ‘the iron is hot.’
The third lesson to take from the NFL is dealing with adversity. Within a game there are numerous moments of adversity that arise. The team that handles these situations the best wins. Coaches and team leaders must show an unwavering front of confidence so the team knows and believes that no matter what may happen, they will find a way to overcome. What makes football so great is that is offers so many opportunities to teach great life lessons. What type of people do we want to be? Are we people who crumble when the first sign of trouble comes along or people who rise above and conquer? I want to be someone who rises above. I have benefited from football in several ways throughout my life. When adversity has struck I have reflected upon the lessons learned from football. There have been many games I have coached where I have had to deal with adversity. It is going to strike and when it does we must be ready. Often times all it takes is the ability to keep playing or keep moving forward. Whether it was a game lost, a job opportunity missed, or miscommunication amongst peers, adversity has provided me with the wisdom to get through the situation. Life is going to bring about many challenges and if we are fragile and give into the difficulty, we will lose. So when those moments of crises arise, remember to keep playing, working, and most importantly, remain moving forward.
The differences between the winners and losers in life are rather simple. The winners are able to remember that both tough times and good times do not last forever. Winners consistently give their best effort, and they respond when adversity presents itself.
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