Tag Archives: Perspective

Football Is NOT Life: Reprise 2012

I originally wrote this post for me, to help me get over myself being down in the dumps over another year not coaching football. I wrote is as a therapeutic reminder that, even though I miss coaching dearly, this great game of football is not, and should never be, the MOST IMPORTANT thing in life.

I am re-posting the blog piece, Football is NOT Life, for you.  You know, you folks out there who have let things slip out of focus. The ones who are half crazed with the emotion and the frustration and the disappointment associated with sports, especially when things are heading south in a hurry.

Everybody wants to win, it is written in the marrow of our bones. However, not everybody can win and we need to remind ourselves there are worse things in life than losing a game of football, no matter how much it hurts.

Respect the kids and respect the coaches. Respect the work and effort everyone invests, no matter how disappointing the outcome is. Use games and sports to build character in our young people, not to expose poor character. Please read this post and think about it.  If it helps, then pass it on to the next person before we adults take all the fun out of this great game.

Football is NOT Life! (originally posted on September 21, 2010)

I know this may sound highly irrational and maybe even a bit hypocritical coming from me, but contrary to what the t-shirts say, FOOTBALL IS NOT LIFE!.

Football is the greatest damn game ever invented, but it is not life.  Football is intensity, competitiveness, sportsmanship and violence, but it is not life.  Football requires immense strategy and teamwork, but it is not life.  Football provides education, drama, entertainment, and a solidarity which binds communities, campuses and fan bases throughout the nation, but it is not life.  Football is universal, it is played by presidents and paupers, genius and idiot, big and small, aggressive and passive, rich and poor, but it is not life.  Football should not be all consuming.  Football should not be the top priority.  I know this for a fact, I have tripped and fallen down this hole before (see my story).

Football can be like a package of Oreos, both need to be consumed in moderation.  You’ve been there, you open the package of Oreos and leave it out on the counter.  Sooner, rather than later, the whole package is gone and you don’t feel so good.  But if you open that package and only take a couple of Oreos and place the package in the cupboard for a later date, they not only taste spectacular, but last and satisfy for days upon days.  Football is not life.  It should be taken in moderation and/or with a tall glass of milk, (1% or skim preferably).

Football has it’s proper place, it has it’s proper perspective. Football is not the primary reason for the existence of high schools, colleges and universities.

Yes, football is important.  It is important to compete.  It is important to work hard to be the best coach or player you can be.  It is important to compete with purpose, pride and passion.  But I think Coach Paul Lane said it best with his prioritization of the sport, “Faith, Family, Football, in that order”.

Football is important to me.  But football is not life.  Let’s work to keep football in it’s proper perspective and place. I would hate for you to get a football belly-ache.

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The Game Perspective

It’s a game.

It’s a game.

It’s a game.

Truly, it is only a game.   Not that you can’t take the game seriously. Not that you can’t work you buttocks to the bare bone to prepare to compete. Not that you can’t compete with the very marrow of your human existence. All of those things are good. But, in the end, it is only a game.

I am a competitor. I will scrape and scrap for any victory, no matter how insignificant the victory or the competition can be. If there is a contest to be had, my game face sits constantly at the ready. Whether organized sports, recreational sports, family game night or kicking/blocking 32 oz plastic cup field goals through my president’s room door off the living room of the fraternity house, it is game on. But, it always remains a game. No crying, no whining, no takeover of one’s life…It’s a game.

After my eighth grade year, we had a very good summer baseball team. We were too cool for school in the late 1970’s. As recent graduates of Catholic school, we were good and we had uniforms fashioned after the old rainbows style of the Houston Astros, only with a blue spot on the front of jersey instead of a star. Our head coach worked as a salesman for our team sponsor, Spotbilt (hence the blue spot) and with his job it meant he was out of town sometimes for games. When he was gone, our gruff assistant, Ray, would take over. Ray was a much-older brother of one of my teammate friends and a friend of my oldest brother.  He was a mountain of a man, with a hippie inclination, who loved music and sports. He was a great influence on me while I was growing up, needless to say.

One night, right before the championship game of the end of season tournament, Ray said one of the damnedest things I had every heard. His wisdom that night has stuck in a prominent place in my brain all these years. It is the perfect thought for a rant on perspective and sports.

Before our games, our very Catholic head coach would do the very Catholic sports thing of praying for the quick and bloodless domination of our upcoming opponent.  It was always one of those awkward moments in which newly minted teenage boys found difficult to keep from giggling and laughing, but the head coach made us do it with religious purpose and consistency.

The championship game rolls around and, lo and behold, the head coach is out of town on a sales trip. We warm up, take pregame infield and meet down the first base line for the usual “biggest game of your life, now let’s pray an Our Father for the complete vanquishing of our opponent” speech our head coach always gave. Coach Ray fills in for the head coach. Ray talks about how much fun it is to play a championship game, how hard we have worked to get here and how we need to go out, relax and have a good time. But, when we all put a hand in the team circle to say the prayer, Ray turns and walks toward the dugout.

We look in confusion to each other. After a few seconds, one of our real smart asses on the team (one of many smart asses on that team, I assure you.) says, “Hey Ray Ray, aren’t we going to say a prayer?”

Ray stops dead in his 6’ 4” 280 lb. tracks, pauses for a moment of thought, then returns to the team huddle.  The look in Ray’s eyes spelt doom for the young smartass who had the nerve to speak up and say what we were all thinking, but with the “Ray Ray” thrown in. Ray stops, looks each of us squarely in the eye and says,

“Boys, this game tonight is important. This sport of baseball is a great game, it is important. But, if God gives a shit about the outcome of this baseball game, we are all in a hell of a bad way. Now go out and play goddamn baseball while you still can.”

Perspective and sports. Not always an easy marriage. But, it is just a game…

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