Recently, seeing my own child graduate brings out a lot of personal emotion. I have watched her strive for great goals, believe in her faith, and discover her true self in the process. Anytime someone is dreaming big the real battle is always internal vs external. How do we battle the naysayers, personal doubt, adversity, and continue to take steps consistently? I am so thankful for her path and how it has prepared her for the next window of life. A great friend of mine says that competition, goals, and activities is “How we practice life before we live it.”
I love coaching football and believe it can be one of the greatest tools to teach the “Real Game.” The pure nature of football teaches one to be obedient to a greater purpose, teamwork, getting up when being knocked down, playing a role, sacrifice, courage, a teachable spirit, handling success/failure, being a teammate, and to persevere always. We always say “That Maximizing the Now will Maximize the Future.” If the game is used appropriately then one will be better prepared in the next window than future competition. The last line of our mission statement says for “Players to leave a Champion for Life”, which means being better prepared for the real world by playing football. The goal is to win championships but our purpose is to prepare young men for life. Players all over the country are graduating, leaving the field, and entering the real game. Our greatest victory will be seeing them years later as successful fathers, husbands, community members, and professionals making an impact. I would like to share a letter I wrote to a former player as encouragement to all:
It is time to take that next step in life into a whole new window of opportunity. This can be exciting and a little bit scary at the same time. You may feel as if you are stepping into the unknown and in some regards starting all over. As you take that step, be assured that you are fully prepared. Every step of your journey has molded you for the challenges that lay ahead. I have watched you take on adversity and rise to the challenge time and again. I have watched you dedicate yourself and fight to be on an athletic field with no guarantees. I have watched you deal with every situation with class, integrity, and a servant’s heart. I have watched you compete as a “Warrior” in the heat of the highest competition.
You have asked yourself many times the question of “Why have I dealt with these things and challenges?” To let you in on a secret, I did the same thing through all my travels and challenges at your age. I look back thankful for every adversity and would not change a thing. There are no mistakes and your plan is perfect. You are uniquely made with gifts that are only yours. You have been prepared and shaped for the “Real Game” and are way ahead of those around you. You are being prepared for your purpose and your finest hours. When you find yourself around a whole new group of people taking on challenges, being a team player, problem solving, leading in adversity, and being the hardest worker. Do not be surprised when others struggle in adversity while you are thinking… “This is no big deal.” Do not be surprised when you rise fast and others look to you for guidance and leadership. Do not be surprised when you become the greatest example to others in your future endeavors. Do not be surprised when you think often about your dedication and time in this great game.
This is just the starting point, so apply these lessons from the past few years and dominate everyday with purpose. There are many steps on the staircase of your life and each will lead to the next. Time will go quickly and it plays no favorites. Stay out of your comfort zone and take life head on. The World is on a platter and the menu is never ending. Remember if you can visualize it, then you can hold it in your hand! No excuses, be a doer, you are “Built for Impacting People”, AND never forget that you are “Born to be Special!” I appreciate you and feel honored to have shared this small window of time in your journey. The gas tank is full and needs to be left empty, Go out there and Crush It!!