Lessons Taken from the Football Field into Life

Lessons Taken from the Football Field into Life

Once it’s time to hang up the cleats and all of the violent collisions subside, are your days of football really over?  Well, literally, yes, but the valuable lessons from your playing days will stick with you for a lifetime.  While often referred to as, “just a game,” football teaches us some of the most significant life lessons that we sometimes don’t even realize.  I am going to briefly uncover some of the lessons that I’ve taken with me from the football field and have applied to my everyday life.  Specifically, being disciplined, motivated, and accountable, being able to handle criticism, and being able to get up after being knocked down, both literally and figuratively.

Discipline, Motivation, Accountability, and EFFORT

Being an athlete for the majority of my life, a football player, in particular, there have been certain intangible skills and qualities that have been easier to attain that some non-athletes may lack.  In order to excel on the football field (and in life), it requires the individual to have unmatched discipline, motivation, and accountability.  Whether it be those grueling 5:00am lifts or fully-padded practices in the dead heat of the summer, one must realize that they’re not doing it for themself, but for the betterment of the team and those around them.  I am a firm believer in the fact that people are capable of controlling one thing: their effort.  There is nothing quite more disappointing or unappealing than someone that doesn’t give effort, whether it be between the white lines, or in life.  One of my favorite quotes comes from Coach Lewis Caralla who said, “Are you willing to sprint when the distance is unknown?”  Yes, sometimes things are extremely difficult, but that’s when something needs to switch in your brain that tells you, “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for all of the people around me.”  This is the mentality that separates a winner from a loser… if being a champion were easy, everyone would be one.           

Being Able to Learn from Criticism

I will be the first person to admit that I have been chewed out on the football field before, I mean, who hasn’t?  It’s a part of the game.  While it’s certainly not any fun at the moment, it’s a significant facet of the game because it forces the player to make a very important split-second decision.  They can either sit and sulk over getting yelled at for the rest of the day, or they can get to the root of the issue and learn from it in order to ensure that they never make that mistake again… I’ve learned to always choose the ladder.  While coaches always preach the importance of having a short memory on the football field, I believe it is equally as important to remember the times that you’ve been ripped apart so that you can continue to learn from it…  There is nothing more dangerous than becoming complacent.  This may seem insignificant, but certain people utterly shut down at the first sense of criticism or adversity, and as most of you may know, the world is filled with criticism and adversity.  What’s imperative to the success of an individual is developing the tools to learn from these difficult situations, which gives us the ability to get up ten times after we’ve been knocked down nine.    

Get Up!

What a perfect segway… As stated previously, and as all of you know, the world is filled with criticism and adversity.  Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control; the world works in mysterious ways but it places its toughest battles upon the shoulders of its strongest people.  Football is a game that teaches us from a young age that when you get knocked down, both literally and figuratively, the only choice you have is to get back up.  It’s a perfect metaphor for life, as Rocky says, “It’s (the world) a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”  Whether it be on the football field or in the real world, you need to be resilient.  After a couple of knee surgeries and a shoulder that seems to be reaching its dying day, my body is surely glad that I’ve hung up the cleats, but my mind is forever grateful for the countless lessons that I’ve been able to learn and grow from.  There is no other sport in the world that teaches the lessons of being disciplined, motivated, and accountable, being able to handle criticism, and being able to get up after being knocked down, quite like football.

One response to “Lessons Taken from the Football Field into Life”

  1. Justin Titchenell says:

    Good stuff!!

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