The reason I choose this picture for perseverance is one of my favorite stories from any football season over a 13 year coaching span!
This kid, Landon Melzer, was all of 5’5” 110 pounds as a freshman playing VARSITY football in 2007. Due to injuries, we had to bring him up to play some defensive back for us. He was the only froshie to start all year for us and it was only a few games.
Out at Riverside Christian, he comes up to make a tackle on this BIG running back – a senior that went 6’ 215 pounds. The guy just runs right over Landon; like he isn’t even there basically, took him right out and went on to score one of their two touchdowns on the day, a 65 yard run. I mean, it looked like a semi truck driving through a watermelon, it was that bad. I actually thought about just pulling Landon from the game, and putting in a bigger kid, even if their technique was worse, just do he didn’t get embarrassed like that again!
They go up by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, we were up by two points and they are driving on us pretty good! It was one of those really great back and forth football games. 7-0, 7-7, 14-7, 14-14, one of those great Saturday afternoon games where we kind of thought the last person to have the football will win.
So, they are driving on us with about 3 minutes to go. 5 yards here, 8 yards there, 4 yards here. They start creeping into our territory and get the ball down inside the 30 with two minutes to play and they basically are getting ready to score. The same exact play which killed Landon earlier happens again; it was the fullback off tackle, and this kid is running right at Landon again. Just like one hour earlier.
BUT, Landon takes a different approach, gets himself set up lower, doesn’t stop his feet and tackles the kid. Not only does he make a picture perfect textbook tackle, he caused a fumble on this tackle thus stopping their drive!! We get the ball, run out the clock and win!
A little ol’ froshie becomes the hero of the game causing that fumble! That my friend was a great lesson in perseverance for our football team.
One of my absolute favorite books ever is Think Like A Champion by Head NFL Football Coach Mike Shanahan. He wrote it after their back to back Super Bowl wins by the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998. You have GOT to read this book if you are a leader, and more specifically if you are a football coach!
I pulled this quote about perseverance out of this great book:
Leaders need to keep pushing, keep grinding, keep working, keep persevering. They need to keep pushing their troops in times of trouble. It takes patience and time, but you’ve GOT to stay strong.
Well folks, that’s all I have! That is the Leadership Lifestyle! It isn’t one thing to fix or one thing to implement. It is a lifestyle. It is a process. I challenge you again today with one of the first quotes we looked at –
What part of this Leadership Lifestyle can you begin to work on as soon as you leave this blog?
Think about it and write it down right now!
Thanks for reading this L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. post!