An in depth look at how football prepares you for more than the challenges you’ll endure on the field.
Football is the most popular game in our country and has been for quite some time now. People every summer sign up across the United Sates for an array of reasons. Maybe to stay in shape, get out of the house, meet new friends, have some fun, etc. All of these are great reasons to play. However, what most people don’t realize when they sign up is the valuable life lessons this game instills into you and how it turns you from a boy to a man.
So let’s jump right into it. From a spectator perspective, all you really see is two teams that are trying to beat one another. This in a sense is correct, but it is so much more than that. Each team is composed of a group of teammates. All branching from different backgrounds, differing cultural beliefs, upbringings and anything in between. The one thing linking all of them together is the hard work put in to being the best team they can. So much time and effort has been poured into working together to achieve a common goal. On third and goal, it does not matter what car you drive, what brand your sneakers are, or what God you may pray to. All of that is irrelevant all that matters in that moment is if you and your team can pull through together and get the job done.
In countless situations you come across in life, there will always be a winner and there will always be a loser. “It's not how many times you get knocked down that count; it's how many times you get back up.” Most all of us have heard this famous quote from one place or another. This rings especially true in the game of football. Throughout a season, game, even each play you experience extreme highs and drastic lows. A turnover can cause a monstrous swing in momentum, you have to combat that and find a way to wrestle it back. A loss in a big game or a string of tough losses over a few weeks can derail your focus and make it difficult to get back on track. Throughout our lives, we will all experience a range of challenges. If you lose your job in your professional life, how do you move on and find what is next? How do you deal with a relationship with a family member going through a difficult time? Learning to handle various types of let downs, or failures and compartmentalize your focus and recover is a vital key to success.
“There is nothing more powerful than a group of people with a common goal working to achieve that goal”. This is a quote from head coach at Virginia Tech (Coach Fuente). These words ring true from a national level all the way down to a group of 2-4 people who may be starting a family together. As an individual, we can accomplish amazing things on our own. Humans around the world are accomplishing incredible things every day. However, the power and possibilities are multiplied endlessly when you have the support and help of others with you. There are so many examples of this throughout history. Few things are more satisfying in this world than seeing a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. A recent example would be the incredible support and response to hurricane Harvey. JJ Watt started a charity to raise donations for relief efforts to benefit Houston and its surrounding areas. He set a lofty goal of reaching $200,000 of donations through his fundraising campaign. As word spread across the nation of his noble organization, the money poured in. What he didn’t foresee was how his campaign would take off. People from everywhere generously gave whatever they could to help the battered people of Houston heal. The bar that was once set at under a quarter million dollars was shattered. Out of the almost 210,000 people that donated, an incredible number of 37 million dollars was raised. This is just one of countless examples around the world of people coming together to accomplish something great or bigger than themselves.
Aside from mental outlooks and ability to work with others there is another important quality, this game gives its players. Every single day you do incredibly difficult things as you prepare yourself to execute and perform at the peak of your abilities. Intense workouts early in the morning, film study to learn the weaknesses and tendencies of your opponents. You do whatever it takes and do it on time. At Virginia tech, we preached a lunch pail mentality. You come to work every day with a winning attitude and hunger improve with the goal of being the best version of yourself. If you attack your life with this same mentality and drive, you will dominate in whatever you do.
Football has given me so much more than I ever could have imagined. Especially now that I have moved on from the game, I can wholeheartedly say that football does not end when you hang up the cleats. The lessons, relationships, and personal growth will stick with you for the rest of your life.