Monthly Archives: August 2012

“In football…”

“In football a man was asked to do a difficult and brutal job, and he either did it or got out.”      – Frederick Exley, novelist.

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The Rule

The Mrs. Hays recently brought up the subject of her need to develop a set of rules for her new classroom. I suggested, “Mrs. Hays is the Queen of this Classroom; diligently follow every word that flows from her mouth.”

She said that my suggestion was not really a classroom rule, it actually is a universal law. What she needed, she said, was a simple set of rules like the set of “No” rules you find at the swimming pool. No running, no rough-housing, no sitting on shoulders, no diving, etc. and so on. My train of thought and immediate interest in the subject waned with the memories of the hours upon hours of the young me sitting on hot pool decks kept prisoner from my friends and the refreshing, cool water by over-zealous lifeguards and their “No” rules.

With my husbandly duty of suggesting rules to the wife successfully completed, my mind drifted away to behavior rules I’ve run across or used in coaching sports. One of my favorites from my personal stable of behavior rules is this concise, to-the-point, original Coach Hays rule:

“Nothing you do on the field of play can make up for acting like a piece of crap off the field.”

Another one I like, which may or may not be a Coach Dail Smith-ism, is this one on keeping a well-ordered locker room or team bus:

“Your mother is not here, so pick up after your own self.”

But my all-time favorite rule on behavior came from the late Coach Melvin Cales. I lived with Melvin’s son, Monty, in college. As luck would have it, the college happened to reside in the same town as Monty’s grandmother. Melvin and his wife would often drive down and visit his mother on Sundays and then stop by our place on the way out of town. After the visit, Melvin would stop at the door and say to Monty. “Behave yourself.” Then he’d add the one line on behavior which I have repeated hundreds of times over the years to my own self, to athletes and most importantly, to my own children:

“Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read about in the paper.”

So there you have it Mrs. Hays, a rule for your students and, indeed, a great rule for life. Smart, sage, and simple advice from a smart, sage, and simple man.

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There’s No “I” In Team, But There Is a “ME”

Teams are built through shared purpose. Teams are built under a common goal. Team members may be from every race, creed, religion, and socio-economic status. Heck, they can even despise one another, but when they step across the white line, it’s all business. Across that line it becomes all about the common goal.
Teams are formed through challenge and hardship. The team members relish the small victories while continuing toward the common goal.

Teams are forged in the fire of the challenge, fire in the blood, fire in the mind and the burning flame inside the heart. Teams are built on trust. Trust in each other earned through survival of the challenge fire. Each member knows what everyone has sacrificed to be part of the collective. Everyone knows each member has earned their ticket to compete. Everyone trusts everyone else to be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally to do their job. Trust.

Teams don’t just happen. Teams aren’t built on talk, T-shirts, team pictures, selling candy, having sleepovers or sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya.
Building a team and building trust takes hard work and sacrifice. Every man, every day. Teams are built by hard work and trust. Team is built by every member taking care of business. A team is built when all the “ME’s” work to become a “WE”.

There is no “I” in team, but there is a “ME”. A whole lot of “ME’s”, in fact, stepping inside the white line to take care of business and achieve the ONE GOAL.

Hard work is the magic.

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