Vince Lombardi once said, “I think coaching is teaching, see? So I don’t think there’s any difference whether you teach on the football field or whether you teach in the classroom. They’re both exactly the same. It’s a question of . . . a good teacher puts across what he wants to his pupils. Whether it’s done on a football field or whether it’s done in a classroom, it’s one and the same.”
Over the weekend, I was watching a piece on legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The documentary chronicled Lombardi’s life growing up in Brooklyn through his storied years as a championship coach with the Packers. As a Packers fan, I’ve read biographies on Lombardi and other books that have discussed the man and his abilities, but there was one story told in this piece that I had not heard before. The story was told by none other than John Madden, himself a Super Bowl champion coach and famed football broadcaster.
If you’ve read any of my writing, you know I hold legendary football coach Vince Lombardi in high regard. I’m a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan and have great admiration for the man who coached the team during the 1960s, so I often quote him when I write.
One quote often attributed to Lombardi is, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” And while Lombardi wasn’t the first to utter those words (they’re actually attributed first to UCLA Bruins football coach Red Sanders dating back to 1949), he did, on occasion, use those exact words.
Recently, the Miami Heat won the NBA championship. It was the team’s first title since the “Big Three” — LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh — joined forces, with great fanfare, predicting a multitude of championships for the Heat a few years back.
This year’s championship silenced a lot of critics who, after a couple of years passed without a title, started to openly question whether the famous trio and those around them were a team or just a compilation of talented individuals.
I think it’s a natural tendency for people to want to be in control. In fact, I read the other day that the feeling of a lack of control contributes significantly to a person’s stress level. So, it makes sense that all of us would prefer to be in control. It certainly beats the alternative of being controlled! Right?
The definition of control is, “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” Think about those words for a minute. Let’s start with the first four words of the definition, “the power to influence.” Well, right off the bat, that sounds like less than what most of us think of as control. The “power to influence” seems like a bit of a hedge to me. Control means things are happening exactly as we dictate, nothing less. Well, if you’re only influencing events, then you aren’t dictating them.
The other day, a colleague sent me the results of a survey that says Americans would like to have Vince Lombardi or Oprah Winfrey as their coach. That got me thinking. It got me thinking about whom I would choose as my coach. Who should be in the running? What makes each an appealing choice?
I started my list with the two mentioned in the survey results and moved on from there.
As I sat and watched my Green Bay Packers hold on for a victory in Sunday night’s Super Bowl, I was reminded how athletic competition provides great lessons for life and business. Whether it’s an individual sport like golf or a team sport such as football, athletics provides countless opportunities to learn life’s lessons. It struck me again, as I watched the game, how true this actually is.
In athletics, as in life, to be successful one must be able to overcome adversity. Whether it was Pittsburgh’s three turnovers or injuries to key Green Bay players, it was apparent that adversity is a part of almost every athletic endeavor. The ability to overcome those difficulties is often the key to success. Changes in tactics and strategy become necessary. The competitor who can adjust most effectively is often the one who prevails. But if you crumble and quit when faced with adversity, you’re doomed to fail.
Each week, I sit down at my computer to write. Sometimes I’ve been tossing an idea around in my head for the better part of the week and the words just flow. Other times, I’m racking my brain for something I feel is worthy of writing about. In one of those moments when the latter was more true than the former, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea . . .
Instead of coming up with something intelligent or, God forbid, witty to say, why not just rely on what others, who are much more intelligent AND witty than I, have already said?