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Friday, November 1, 2013

A Sport Perspective

Family -

As the high school football regular season winds down and we begin to look ahead to playoffs in Southern California, I just wanted to take a moment and share some of my thoughts with you.

It goes without saying that I love football… I mean, once football is in you… it’s always in you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a player or a coach the desire to compete and be part of an extended family is forever a part of you. Maybe it’s the brutal, almost barbaric-like physical nature of the game… perhaps it’s the strategy of trying to “out coach” the opposition… or maybe it’s simply the spirit of competition and surrender to something beyond that.

Lemme ‘splain.

Unlike many of the young men I’ve had the honor and privilege to coach/mentor in my career here in Orange County, CA, I’ve always viewed football as a way out. A way, just for a couple of hours, to escape the outside world, its many cares and pending responsibilities – an opportunity to spend time with my brothers… my family… and focus on a common unspoken goal of expected success. Whether it meant by-passing the racism and poverty of growing up in rural Florida as a teen or completely submerging myself into coaching in present day to thwart the frustration of poor decision-making in current relationships I’ve come to find solace in those few hours where nothing matters but the reverberating “us” of the football program.

Say wha?? McBride just went off the deep end!  
Tesoro Titans Offensive Line and
Coach McBride make adjustments
Photo by: Shawn Oudt

I’m sure some of you may say that’s a long shot, and maybe even a bit weird… and to that end you may be correct in your assessment. However, for those of you who’ve had similar experiences be it in football or some other sport, you can understand my point of view. I guess in short what I’m trying to say (which you’ve all heard me say before) is that football… no… sport itself stands for so much more than just winning or losing. Reducing sport to a simple win or loss in my humble opinion is disrespecting one of the most incredible learning tools in life! So many life lessons can be taught and learned through sport… even for those of us who consider ourselves to be mature “adults.”

Sport truly IS life… and if you haven’t taken the time to reflect on what that means perhaps you should take a moment to look around… pay attention to what’s going on. Not necessarily to the tabloid-like stories of the many sports networks, but rather to the root cause of why these men and women compete. Ultimately it’s about competing against self… how can I become the best possible version of me?

The celebrity of being an athlete or coach performing at a high level can in itself be intoxicating. Sometimes the real reason we compete can be lost in the “sexy” of sport. Money, power, material possessions, status…all great in their own right; are part of the standard picture. That said without careful management and awareness said celebrity can consume the most unsuspecting person.  

At the end of the day the sun sets on everyone’s career (even Brett Favre – sorry couldn’t help myself). The question then becomes what did you take from the game you loved? Did you learn anything? Were you paying attention?

I guess an even more profound question would be… what do you plan to give back?

Sport is Life