Today is Superbowl Sunday and, like everyone else, I have my mind on the game. However, it isn’t the game but the athletes themselves that interest me. Okay, the commercials, too but that is best left to another post.
I love learning about their individual stories and how they made it here. How they started playing the game as little boys, and continued to define their strengths, refine their skills, and struggle through years of injuries, hardship and courage to become these men at this time in history. Amazing, when you when you think about it.
Consider the immense number of people in life who start playing, training or studying to prepare for their desired area of expertise, and then consider the number who actually make it. What are the odds? What makes the difference? What is it that gets them from novice to Superstar while others, with similar talents, flounder instead of flourish?
Training: They are always training and have been since they first picked up a ball. I can tell you that the Ben Roethlistberger’s and Aaron Rodger’s of the world never stopped training once mastering their talent. In fact, they never believe it to be fully mastered.
Tenacity: They never give up. Injuries may sideline but still they press on. Even to their physical detriment, they continue to play with broken bones, bruised muscles (and egos), rain or snow, heat or cold. Something deep within drives them to continue when others are given the permission to rest.
Coaching: Every single professional has a coach and this is not limited to sports. The gifted require this external element, whether they are writers, actors, singers, and even Realtors (my field of play). A coach is someone who can clearly see where the athlete needs to be and knows how to get him there. He studies the the strengths and weaknesses and creates a plan of action that is specific to that individual. There is no one-size-fits-all! They develop a continuous push/pull dynamic to their relationship. The coach provides the roadmap, monitors the progress and constantly encourages, presses, cajoles, maybe even threatens to ensure action. An effective coach will not fall for excuses or procrastination. If the athlete is tough, the coach must be tougher.
Desire: They can see it, taste it and smell it, even when it exists only in their mind. What might seem daunting to most will only feed this desire further. Ask a true believer what their goal is and you will be astounded by dreams that appear unattainable at best and possibly even bordering on delusions of grandeur. Could it be we lack the belief system and vision to go there or maybe we never had it in the first place? There are no self-induced limits on their ability to achieve… and what they lack, they go back to the first three items above and create it, fix it or improve it.
So while you watch the game today, pay attention to the back-ground stories that the media uses to fill dead air time. Listen to proud parents as they portray their son’s childhood. Ask yourself; what was unique about the seed planted in the “Sapling” of the kid that helped him grew into this mighty “Oak” of a man? If you took a poll of each player on the field and asked what he wanted most as a kid, he will tell it is today. It is this one moment in time. It is to play in the Superbowl!
Win or lose, they are all champions and should be honored for truly “Living the Dream”!