It takes a team

I have been watching a lot of football this season and I am noticing a trend.  Long before the final clock runs out, there is a tom-brady-losingquarterback on the sidelines hanging his head, dejected, towel over his face.  I want to reach through the screen and shake him and scream WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THE GAME IS NOT OVER YET!  The quarterback is the leader of the team.  He calls the plays and directs players on the field.  So why is he giving up before the game is over?  I saw this with my home team, the Carolina Panthers.  I’ve seen it with my all-time favorite Dallas Cowboys.  And I saw it yesterday during a play-off game with the New England Patriots.

cam-newton-fantasyI got news for these quarterbacks.  If your team mates see you looking all down in the dumps because the game is not going well at a particular moment, it brings them down.  They lose their steam.  And the third quarter looking rough does not mean that you won’t score again.  It does not mean the game is lost.  You cannot give up.

If you follow football, you know that the quarterback gets blamed for everything.  While I feel this is not fair, after all he is part of a team, when the game is not going well is when you need the quarterback to step up and lead.  Even if it means nothing more than NOT looking dejected on the sidelines.  Get aggravated.  Get mad.  Talk to the coaches and your team mates.  But don’t ever give up.  Don’t let anyone see you give up.

Many people say that American football players are whiny kids playing a game for a lot of money.  Yes, sometimes they whine just Romolike we all do.  And yes, they get paid well.  But they also train very hard to be the best at what they do.  At least they earn their money (unlike some politicians I could mention).  They put their bodies and minds on the line every time they put on their pads and step onto the field.  I read an article in ESPN magazine about Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and how he developed a work ethic back in his college days.  Romo wasn’t the best player on the team.  But when he saw that he needed to work on something he practiced and practiced until he got good at it.  He does the same today, studying game footage to see where mistakes were made and where he needs improvement and then he takes that to the field to work on those issues.  One of his team mates said he did not know anyone who worked harder to perfect his game.  That is how you become a leader.

Let’s talk about the fans for a moment.  I have been a football fan for as long as I can remember.  My dad was a Redskins fan.  So of course I had to pull for the Cowboys just to aggravate him. The Cowboys are still my team, even after my home state got their own NFL franchise.  Football fans are loyal, rabid, passionate, and insane.  Fans will cheer and boo and have superstitions (yes, I’m Giants Cowboys Footballtalking about the beer ads).  If these athletes are going to risk broken bones and concussions to play the game, we owe it to them to be as fanatical about our fandoms as they are about competing.  However, when our team loses, we should hold the whole team accountable (coaching staff included).  The flip side of this is that we have to be accountable as fans.  The NFC playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers was played in the noisiest stadium in the league.  The crowd has set records for how many decibels they can reach.  Quite the opposite from the AFC game at Denver.  I saw the big screen flash “Quiet please. The quarterback is talking.”  And the crowd would be so quiet when Denver had the ball that Manning was heard clearly throughout the stadium.  These crowd responses are what fans should be doing in every stadium.

So, remember this as you prepare for Superbowl weekend: do not blame the quarterback; cheer like your life depends on it; respect the effort put into making a professional athlete.  And have fun.  That’s what these guys are doing on the field.  It should be fun.  And we should have fun watching the game, not just the commercials.

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Does your bra fit? (It’s not what you’re thinking)

If any of you have seen pictures of me, it is quite evident that I am not flat chested.  While I often gripe about my bras the truth is I Mae West Gownwould be in a lot of pain and quite miserable without them.  I need that support.  What does my bra do?  The same function as a man’s athletic cup.  Protect body parts that are often unsupported and in danger of getting squeezed, crushed, mashed, pinched…you get the point.  These devices come in different sizes.  A good thing since human bodies are a bit asymmetrical and even twins will have some differences.  Each person is different and needs a type of support designed specifically for them.

Which brings me to my point.  Each person on this planet needs more than just support from their clothes.  We all need emotional support from the people around us.  But it’s not all the same.  Students need support to do well in school.  Teachers need support to effectively fill heads with knowledge.  People with ANY type of illness need support from family, friends and doctors in order for treatment to be successful.

A lot of our support system needs to come from within.  This is not a contradiction of my last paragraph.  Our own self-esteem and self-control work with the support of those around us.  It’s important that the people we surround ourselves with understand us well enough to offer the support we need, and vice versa.  A good example: if your best friend is trying to make healthy changes to his/her diet and get in shape, don’t offer them food they can’t eat.  This is even more important when you live with someone.  It is very difficult for a person to make healthy lifestyle changes when they share space with someone who is content to stay the way they are.

Do you have enough willpower to fix two different meals so you can eat together?  Can you look across the table and watch the other person eat a big bowl of pasta and resist the urge to have even a bite?  It’s difficult to maintain a new change long enough for it to become a habit when you don’t have enough support.  And before you start, just saying you are supportive of someone’s efforts to get healthy or do whatever is not enough.  Saying you’ll support my effort to go to the gym and cut out sodas and wheat is nothing but LIP SERVICE UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY BACK IT UP!

Let me repeat that:  IT’S ONLY LIP SERVICE UNLESS YOUR ACTIONS SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!  If I’m trying to get to the gym more often, ask me “did you make it to the gym today?”  If I’m trying to eat what my doctor recommends, don’t bring home spaghetti O’s and frozen pizza.  Yes, there are compromises, within reason.  But if you’re going to say you support my efforts, then act like it.  If we’re eating together, eat what I eat.  If it’s your turn to buy groceries, don’t fill the cabinets with stuff I can’t eat.  Don’t just tell me you support me.  Show me.

I was never taught the value of cultivating self-esteem and self-control.  I’ve had to learn those the hard way, through trial and error.  My brother and I are both trying to make some lifestyle changes in order to get healthy.  We’re both officially orphans with plenty of extended family.  The two of us are our own support system, warped and twisted though it is.  We need all the support we can get from those around us.

How strong is your support?  If you wanted to make a big change would people be there to help you or just give lip service?  How well does your bra fit?