January 10th, 2011
One of the most disturbing elements of professional football isn’t the players celebrating after a victory. I enjoy watching a good celebration as much as almost anybody. But whenever I see an NFL star celebrating before there’s anything to celebrate about, I shake my head from side to side.
Let me give a couple of examples:
A year ago I watched former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb make pistol gestures with his hands after getting a first down in a playoff game. In the first quarter. In another playoff game, I saw him run for a first down in the fourth quarter, go out of bounds and pick up the phone on the opponent’s sideline.
Bad moves in my book.
But the thing I disliked about McNabb the most was when the cameras showed him coming out of the tunnel prior to a championship game, playing an air guitar and celebrating before the game had even started.
Maybe it’s my Midwestern upbringing, but whenever I see these types of antics, I cringe.
Those of you who have been long-term Nebraska football fans may appreciate this one. I went to a Nebraska versus Iowa game in 1980 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers won 57 – 0, if I remember correctly. On the third play from scrimmage, Jarvis Redwine took a handoff and ran 70 yards for a touchdown.
While running back to the sidelines he looked at the crowd and waived his hands over his head celebrating along with their cheers.
Two days later while listening to the radio I distinctly recalled the announcers saying that head coach Tom Osborne had given Mr. Redwine extra sprints at the end of every practice for the entire week. Why? Because Tom Osborne believed that sort of celebration before victory has no place on his team.
So last night I was excited to watch the Eagles play the Packers. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the resurgence of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. I believe he’s a top candidate for MVP of the league. And I wanted to see him have a big game last night. He didn’t. And perhaps it had a little something to do with his pre-game celebration while coming out of the tunnel.
So last night, “Damn, I thought. He’s doing another McNabb.”
Contrast all of the above with a pitcher in Major League Baseball. A big league pitcher does not celebrate when he runs onto the field prior to throwing the first pitch. And if he strikes out the side in the first inning he doesn’t celebrate on the way to the dugout. If he’s throwing a no-hitter through five innings you wouldn’t know it by the expression on his face. He walks back to the dugout with the stoicism of a Zen monk.
Not only that, but if the pitcher is doing really well, throwing a no-hitter or even tossing a perfect game, no one on the team even talks to him. Everyone stays away. No one even sits near him.
If the pitcher is fortunate enough to throw a no-hitter or have a perfect game, no one on the team celebrates until the last out is counted.
I think football can learn a lot from baseball. I’d much rather watch a game in which my favorite players, one of them being Michael Vick, hold off on the celebrating until it really counts.
At the same time I love watching athletes who, regardless of the score never stop giving it everything they have until the final buzzer sounds. Even if they’re behind and there appears to be no chance to win, it’s a great thing when the athlete continues to give it everything he has.
No pouting. No whining. No defeated facial expressions.
If you agree with this type of philosophy, then I think you’ll love reading The Unbeatable Man. It takes the advice in this message and places it in your heart, mind and soul. No matter who you are, this book will give you a sense of purpose, direction and discipline greatly needed in today’s world.