Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Something Shared...

This was shared to me before Parent's Weekend in college.  We were playing in a big conference game and our head coach shared this with us on Friday night prior to our Saturday afternoon game.  I don't know if it helped us win that next day or not, but I know it sure touched me, and it help motivate me.  I thought I'd share it with you as it's a good story nonetheless.  So here goes:

This was a story told by Bennett Cerf, a long-time sports announcer and was shared with me, so I thought I would share it with you.

Lou Little was head football coach at Columbia University. Prior to that, he held a similar post at Georgetown. One year there was a youngster on the squad who was no great shakes as a football player, but whose personality served as a morale booster for the whole team. Little was deeply fond of the boy. He liked the proud way he walked arm in arm with his father on the campus from time to time. If the team was far enough ahead, he even let him get into a game occasionally for the last few minutes of play.

One day, about a week before the big finale with Fordham, the boy’s mother called Lou on the phone. “My husband died this morning of a heart attack,” she said. “Will you please break the news to my boy? He’ll take it better if it comes from you.”

Little did what was necessary, and the boy went home sorrowfully.

He was back three days later, and came straight to Lou Little. “Coach,” he begged, “I want to say something to you that means an awful lot to me. I want to start in that game against Fordham. I think it’s what my father would have liked most.”

Little hesitated and then agreed. “O.K. son, you’ll start; but you’ll only be in there for a play or two. You aren’t quite good enough, and you know it.”

True to this word, Little started the boy — but never took him out. For sixty full, jarring minutes, he played inspired football, running, blocking and passing like an All-American, and sparking the team to victory.

Back in the clubhouse, Little threw his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “Son, you were terrific today. You stayed in because you belonged there. What got into you?”

The boy answered, “Remember how my father and I used to go about, arm in arm? There was something about him very few people knew. My father was totally blind. This afternoon was the first time he ever saw me play.”

Gentlemen, let’s let tonight be the first time they see us play.  Let’s let tonight be the first time our families see us play, and let’s let tonight be our night…together!

You never know when something like this will come in handy, so that's why I'm sharing.  I felt it was an awesome story.  Hopefully you can use it too and share it with your team as my coach did with me.

Football season is looming in the distance, hopefully you're ready!  If not, get up to speed with some new defensive posts over at Cripes!  Get Back to Fundamentals.  As usual, Brophy has put together some great posts (here and here) that will help you defensive guys dot your i's and cross your t's before the season.

Smart Football has an AWESOME article on the science of whether or not to go for two.  I find it hard to believe that an NCAA Division I coach, at the time of the game mentioned in the article, would make such a bonehead mistake, but he did!  I had a head coach that thought the exact same way.  Very good reading to start your season off with a game management topic. 

Also, remember it's very hot out there, keep those athletes hydrated and cool.  Football is Life, but it's not WORTH a LIFE, so don't push it too far as you start fall camp.

Good luck coaches!!!