During Thomas Jefferson’s presidency he and a group of travelers were crossing a river that had overflowed its banks. Each man crossed on horseback fighting for his life. A lone traveler watched the group traverse the treacherous river and then asked President Jefferson to take him across. The president agreed without hesitation, the man climbed on, and the two made it safely to the other side of the river where somebody asked him: “Why did you select the President to ask this favor?” The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the President of the United States who had carried him safely across. “All I know,” he said, “is that on some of your faces was written the answer ‘No’ and on some of them was the answer ‘Yes.’ His was a ‘Yes’ face.”
I love this story, because when we played in 2002 a very similar situation occurred. If I wasn’t there, I would have never believed it. We needed to block a punt. I had made a huge mistake and had not practiced punt blocks that week. One of the coaches called everyone over and said “Who wants to block a punt?” Most of the kids either looked down at their cleats or had a “No” face. But two of them didn’t. Our coach grabbed those two guys and told them what to do. Then they went out on the field and did what they were coached to do. Chewy, our huge DT, knocked a blocker over and Graham had the sickest punt block I had ever scene. Both those guys had a ‘Yes’ face.
You are going to play a tough schedule. You are going to have to have a good attitude. You are going to have to accept that you are going to have to work hard. Work hard. ork hard when it’s hot out. Work hard when it’s raining. Work hard when you are tired and sore. Accept it. That’s the way it is. Have a ‘Yes” face!
A team’s attitude comes from its players….comes from its leaders. The coaches can only get you so far. Ultimately it comes from the players. The teams I’ve been proudest to be a part of as player or coach weren’t always the most talented. Nah, the teams I’ve loved the most were the fighters. They may get beat, but they won the fourth quarter or they kept it close. They came back the next day for practice even hungrier for a win. Those teams may have gone down but they went down swinging. They made the opponent earn every inch they got. They decided not to give up anything without a fight. But I gotta tell you…the teams that had that kind of attitude and a little talent…man they were awesome!