Like many of you, I enjoy college football in the fall. My school, La Tech, has had success at the mid major level over the past few years. Three consecutive bowl games, appearances in conference championship games, etc. This past weekend, they defeated Western Kentucky on a last second field goal that capped an impressive comeback in defeating the defending Conference USA champions on their home field. While I thoroughly enjoyed the game and the ending, I got more out of the interview with the head coach after the game than I would have ever imagined.
When asked about the game during his coach’s show on Monday night, the head coach didn’t talk about the quarterback making big throws, the defense making a big stand to get the ball back at a critical point in the game, or a big play by a receiver to get a needed first down with just seconds to go. Rather he talked about three people:
The holder: He spoke about a young man that had never played a down before this season and his only role was to hold on kicks. He described this young man as one of the key leaders and most influential people on the team. No matter that he was a senior and was not on the field much. He was viewed by teammates as someone they respected, listened to, and looked up to. He was the leader of the team Bible Study and was clearly a calming influence on the sideline when he told the coach, “don’t worry, we’ve got this”, right before they went out for the kick.
The snapper: A former baseball pitcher that, due to injury, was not going to be able to pitch any longer. With one year of college eligibility left, he tries out for the long snapper position on the football team. Prior to this season, he had not put on a football uniform since high school (four years ago).
The kicker: Described as a football player that plays the position of kicker. Although not required to go through all the offseason workouts and conditioning work, he chooses to do what the other player do. When the game starts, he just does the kicking. Talk about leading by example…
Listening him talk about these three guys really made me think. What an example for all of us.
The holder: Finding a way to contribute and never letting position level keep one from influencing others is something we all need to remember. We don’t have to be the “guy/gal in charge” to have an impact on people around us. Seize the opportunity and make a difference where you are today.
The snapper: Sometimes life doesn’t turn out like we want it to, but don’t stop pushing forward. You might just make a difference in the most unlikely of places.
The Kicker: Wonder how many other players were impacted by his willingness to voluntarily go through those long, hot summer workouts? Wonder where we can have that same level of impact if we would be willing to put forth some effort in areas that aren’t required? Wonder whose lives we could impact?
Three guys, one kick, but a whole lot of story behind the scenes that teach us a lot about leadership and influencing others.