My two oldest boys live down south. That is a story for another day. They are up here spending a few weeks with me this summer. Both boys play football and the oldest will be entering high school this fall. Before they came up, I traded emails with his football coach and promised him I would have my son work out while he was here.
Each morning this week we have done some distance running and some speed and agility drills. I say we because I am trying to get myself back in shape as well. The mornings this past week have come in two forms, blazing hot and pouring rain. Neither is much fun to run in.
To vary things up a bit we have worked out at a different track each day. At some point during each workout I told them to take a good look around. I asked them “do you see anyone else your age working out?” No matter the day or track, there was never anyone else there.
I told them “this is how you become great, you work when nobody else wants to. This is how you get an edge on the guy you are competing against for the starting spot, or the all-star spot, or the scholarship. This is what great players do, they work when nobody else wants to. If you want to be great, this is the price you pay. ”
There is an amazing power in the silence of being the only one at the track. A power that comes from knowing you are passing guys by and they don’t even know it. They lack the awareness of what is possible, while you are taking full advantage of it.
While some people try to get away with things when nobody is looking, there are other people who try to get better when nobody is looking.
Tonight I took the boys to the Chowder Bowl. The best recently graduated senior football players in Western Mass vs. the best in Central Mass. The game is a benefit for Shriners hospital and was well attended. The only parking we could find was on the far side of the Springfield College campus.
At about 9:00 PM we left the game and made our way through a quiet part of campus. When we came across the desolate and darkened turf athletic fields behind the track, there was a teenager in the distant shadows dribbling a soccer ball around some cones.
I turned to my oldest and said, “I bet you he is gonna be pretty good son.”
“He’s not going to be the only one dad,” my oldest said.
I just want you to know what is possible.