Posts Tagged ‘football


Monday Motivation: Are you Invincible?

This past Saturday, my wife and I watched the movie, “Invincible“. The movie is based on the true story of Vince Papale. Papale was a die hard Philadelphia Eagles fan who played one year of high school football and was working as a bartender in South Philadelphia. In 1975, the Eagles were a horrible football team and a new head coach, Dick Vermeil, was brought on to coach the team. Vermeil announced that he would be holding open tryouts for the Eagles for anyone that wanted to try out. Out of all the men that attended the event, Vince was the only one that Coach Vermeil asked to attend training camp that year.

Even though he was asked to attend training camp, his journey wasn’t over. He still had to make the numerous cuts that occur during training camp. He did so, and made the team. Coach Vermeil liked Papale’s speed that he showed on the field, but he was also attracted to his character and his heart.

Papale went on to play 3 seasons for his hometown Eagles and was a standout on the special teams unit for the team. This is often times the proving grounds for players, as the only real rule is “if it moves, hit it”.

So, it’s a great story on it’s own, but let’s dig a little deeper for the motivation.

As with anyone who is trying to improve themselves and make their dreams a reality, Papale had his believers and his detractors. The laundry list of detractors included:

  1. During the story, Vince’s wife left him. She left him a note saying that he’d never amount to anything, make any money, or be anyone important. Vince kept this note in his locker at training camp and used it as motivation to reach his goals. On opening day, he ripped the letter up. Goal accomplished.
  2. One of his friends continually gave his chances of making the team no chance, at all.
  3. The current Eagles players didn’t believe in him, or even like him. Who did this 30 year old bartender think he was trying to play with professional athletes anyway?
Regardless of the who didn’t believe in him, he was able to use each of these negative forces as motivation to drive him to the results he wanted.
More importantly, he also had his believers.
  1. His dad continually believed in and supported him.
  2. His brother and other friends supported him and pushed him to go for the tryout in the first place.
  3. A fellow bartender believed in him, even talking to him on the phone while at training camp and sending him a package.
  4. Coach Vermeil stuck up for Papale and probably chose him over a better athlete because of his character, not necessarily because of his physical prowess.
As you look at your own life, you can probably fill in the blanks above between your believers and detractors. Here’s the takeaway from the story, you have to gather around and rally your believers, and ignore the detractors. Sometimes easier said than done, I know. Your believers are the ones that will support you no matter what, no matter what your profession is. More than likely, they like you because of who you are, not because of what you do. Keep these people closest to you and rally them around your cause.

As for the detractors, you can rip up their summations and feelings about you on your “opening day” when you achieve the goal(s) you worked so hard for. 🙂

You can watch some video of Papale in action below.

Make it a great week!


Who’s better than him? Noooobody.

Last Monday, I wrote about San Francisco 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh, and how he motivated a team that was only 6-10 last year to a 13-3 record and the NFC Championship game. The key concept was Harbaugh’s rallying cry, “Who’s got it better than us?”. This past Thursday night, Coach Harbaugh was recognized as the AP NFL Coach of the Year, as part of the Super Bowl festivities in Indianapolis, IN.

While Coach Harbaugh wasn’t in attendance at the event, his starting quarterback, Alex Smith, accepted the award for him. You can watch the events unfold here. You’ll notice during the clip that there’s a shot of Jim Harbaugh with his brother, John. John is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, whose team went to the AFC Championship game.

Congrats to Jim Harbaugh on a great rookie season!



Monday Motivation: Who’s got it better than us? Noooobody!

The San Francisco 49ers had a great year. No, they’re not playing in the Super Bowl next weekend, but a lot of the players took part in the Pro Bowl yesterday in Hawaii. The Niners have been my favorite team since I was a kid. They’ve won 5 Super Bowl trophies in the past, but hadn’t had a winning record since 2002, until this year. That’s 8 seasons of sub-.500 football. This team, who was just 6-10 last year, went 13-3 this season, and earned a first round bye in the playoffs. Primarily, the team consisted of the same players as last year, except for a few well placed additions in the defensive secondary. So, what was the difference. Attitude. Namely, the attitude of the new head coach.

Jim Harbaugh is a former NFL quarterback and came to the 49ers after a successful run at Stanford University. When Harbaugh came on board, he brought with him years of both playing  and coaching experience. But the thing that payed off most for the team actually came from his dad. An attitude of gratitude, thankfulness, and focusing on what you’ve got, as opposed to what you don’t have.

If you followed the 49ers at all this year, you have probably seen some of the players wear these shirts. If you can’t read the shirt, the message is simple. The front asks the question: “Who’s got it better than us?” The back answers that question, “NOBODY!” This motivational Q & A served as the 49ers team chant before and after practices and games.

As I was researching where this came from, I found that it actually came from Jim Harbaugh’s dad, Jack. Here’s the story from an SFGate blog post:

“We were talking on the phone the other day and he said, ‘You know, it’s amazing. I can recall (saying) that in Crestline back in the early 1950s.’ We lived in the same neighborhood and we had a group of about 10 or 15 guys that would wake up every morning in the summer when the sun came up and go out and play. And at lunch time you’d run over to someone’s house and a mom would make you some peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and then it was back on the playground. Then it was dinner time. And after dinner time, back out and you’d play a little kick-the-can because you couldn’t see the ball any more, but you’d put the can under a street light and could play until 8:30, 9 0’clock in the summer time. Mike says, ‘You know what? I can recall that. We’d be walking out to play. Or we’d be going home at night and we’d look at each other say, ‘Who’s got it better than us? Noooo-body.’ And that was a great life.”

Jack Harbaugh later passed the appreciate-what-you-have motto on to his children, who didn’t grow up with many material possessions.”

The motto is all about focusing on what you have, not on what you don’t have.

It’s about focusing on what could be, not on what isn’t.

It’s about being so content with what you’ve got, that you feel sorry for the rest of the world.

It’s pride and belief in yourself and those around you.

Oprah Winfrey has been quoted as saying, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” While I don’t agree with everything that she says, I do agree with her on this point.

As you start out your week, in work and in personal life, make it a point to focus on the things that you do have. Count your blessings.

Finally, here’s Coach Harbaugh in action after an early season comeback win against the Philadelphia Eagles. You’ll see the team answer the question at the end of the clip.

Enjoy your Monday!

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