As opening week of the NFL commenced, I can confidently say that I’m glad there wasn’t a lockout. I don’t know why the sport is so addicting, but it captivates millions of fans – myself included – every Sunday.
I think it might the precision of the game, at least, for me. Quarterbacks lead receivers by passing through the hands and bodies of defenders. Receivers run their routes so precise their foot strikes appears geometrically pre-calculated. Offensive linemen exert the strength bring a 300 pound human exploding into their chest to a dead stop.
The game is intertwined with so many subplots, much like a novel or a movie. How the defense reacts to the offense. How the quarterback handles the safety with his eyes. How the running backs navigates through bodies often twice their size. Everything is inspiring.
But some think the talent and skills displayed in the NFL are out of reach, shrugging off their abilities by claiming superior genetics or the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Both are probably true in some ways. Although I could argue that the genetics factor doesn’t exist.
But even if they are true, that they do have genetics and pharmaceuticals on their side, I want you consider The Football Theory of Life.
It’s easy to be awed by the physiques and abilities of those in the NFL, claiming impossibility for an average person. But it’s also easy to overlook the totality of their training. Those that tout genetics need to watch a high school football game.
Most don’t come out of the womb with superpowers. Their physique and skill are a result of what they are exposed to during their development.
Consider a football player that joins the team his freshman year of high school. Most high school football teams have mandatory lifting sessions, no matter how bad the program or the equipment is. If the student takes athletics seriously, he’ll likely do one of two things in the off season: he will work out, or he will play another sport.
Come senior year, he will have four years of lifting and activity on his side. In college, he’ll likely specialize in one sport that forces him to become more structured with training and lifting. That means he’ll have another four years of more serious experience. Upon consideration for the NFL, he’ll have eight years of total experience, and eight years of practice.
But it doesn’t end there. Something happens to rookie and second year players in the NFL. They seem to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Blame it on drugs or genetics, but that’s ten years of intensie physical activity and lifting to that point. Until you devote ten years to something, don’t tell me about genetics or steroids.
So what we’re left with are year markers. The first year you get involvedwith something, you’re only a freshman in high school. It may be writing, it may be swimming, it may be training clients, whatever. You’re new, stupid, immature, and clumsy.
Even in your fourth year, you’re still in high school. Still immature, although you certainly have grown. But you’re still in high school.
Now, your fifth year you grow a little more but you’re only half developed. Many of you have only been training for 1-3 years, let alone five. And in year five, you’re only half way there. A freshman in college.
As you get to your seventh and eighth year, you’ll know whether or not you’ll be successful. You’ll know if you have what it takes. But that doesn’t mean you stop developing. If you keep going to your ninth year you are — for all intents and purposes — a professional. And in your tenth year, you’re at the apex.
What I’m telling you is that even if you’re five years deep into an athletic commitment and not where you would like to be, don’t quit. You’re only a freshman in college. Take what you have learned and apply it to the next half of your journey.
Don’t determine success in the short term. So you had a bad month, let alone day, suck it up. Get back on track and everything will be OK.
A little shot out to the tricksters that read this blog: If you have a mental block preventing you from trying a backflip or any trick, don’t berate yourself for it. You’re just killing your confidence. Look at the long term. Learn as much as you can and get it when you’re comfortable.
Remember the high school kid that plays three sports. You don’t make it to the NFL without eight years of training, and you don’t fully mature until your tenth year. So whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or become more athletic, measure yourself in something other than days.
And most importantly, don’t say something is impossible or make excuses until you devote ten years of dedicated practice on it. Because, after all, that’s the Football Theory of Life.