Compete or Quit!

Former San Diego Chargers DB Antonio Cromartie

At this time of year hard core football fans are looking for any whiff of the pigskin to keep their appetite for the gridiron satiated. That’s one reason why the NFL Draft, which happened a few weeks, gets so much attention and publicity.

One of the most coveted positions that NFL teams look to draft are defensive backs (DB), the ones charged with covering the offensive players who are typically the fastest players on the field – wide receivers. This is one of the hardest positions to play in football because you have to defend against some of the best athletes in all of sports.

I remember playing DB growing up and it wasn’t always fun, because getting beat for a long touchdown pass by a wide receiver can be demoralizing. Nevertheless, one thing our coaches would always stress was, “compete on every play!” This meant trying your best every single play with no excuses. It didn’t matter how talented the other player was -or how untalented I wasn’t – I had a responsibility to fight, press, push, and anything else I could (within the rules) to keep the receiver from getting the ball. If I wasn’t going to compete on every play, my coach wasn’t going to let me play!

As I think about my football experience I can see how this DB mentality is very relevant to our daily lives. Here’s how…

  1. Give your best effort in every situation. Desire and effort often trump talent. Even if your technique isn’t right, at least give 110% effort. Semi-talented players who work and have good technique will beat out super-talented players who are lazy. Don’t be lazy with your talent and do everything you can to make up for the lack of it.
  2. Put yourself in a position to win. Practice your technique. Stay in shape. Learn as much as possible. Become the expert. When you’re doing the right things usually good things will happen for you.
  3. Have a short memory. DBs have to forget about the last play – whether good or bad, because the next one is coming. You can’t celebrate too long for something good or get down on yourself for something bad, because your team is still counting on you to do well in the future. Learn quickly and get ready to try again.

Everybody has an excuse for why they don’t put forth their best efforts. Unfortunately, excuses are like armpits – everybody has them and they all stink!

In life you have to play hard and you have to play to win… or you might as well not play.

Thrive on Purpose,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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