I am told to man up. I do not understand my assignment, however the pressure from this enraged man forces me to think fast. Although my legs burn, my head hurts, my arm are bruised, and my mouth feels as though it has forgotten the taste of moisture, I do not have the option to lie down and quit. I am furious with this man who does not feel my pain. “I’ll show him,” I think to myself. I make the tackle. Being often filled with frustration, I would have never imagined myself in admiration of this man, my coach.
Football is an interesting sport in that so many life lessons can be found within it. If I could classify all of the things that I have learned from Coach Gideon with one word, I would confidently say “attitude.” Attitude encompasses every aspect of a sport. Dedication, leadership, and perseverance are all dependent upon one’s mindset. Although we often joke of his metaphorical teachings, Coach Gideon has taught us to have a continuously positive mindset which I have tried to apply within every aspect of my life.
Any accomplishment in life must initiate with dedication. In football, dedication is the willingness to give up time after school to go above the expectation of a normal off season, one workout in one day, and get additional work done. A dedicated football player should have the driving attitude that is always looking to the future. Coach Gideon has given us an extended metaphor which displays this dedication best. Each year during our football season, Leander has a “pump week.” Coach Gideon displays this odd looking trophy which consists of an old manual water pump with a plaque that shows the winning teams for the past ten years during our pump week. The metaphor of the pump requires knowledge of the pump’s function. In order to get water out of the pump, it must first be primed. One must first pour water into the pump to begin the siphon, similar to how in any endeavor in life, one must have the dedication to put prior work and preparation into the objective. Coach Gideon has shown us that the only way for this to be done is through an attitude of confidence which is always looking to the future.
As a senior football player, I have been told to take on a certain role of leadership. Without my coach’s advice, I would be lost in this matter. Seniority has a context which separates the superior from the follower. It has a malignant context of scorn between the two, because the follower only obeys in order to avoid disapproval. Leadership may contain seniority but within a different context. Leaders do not view themselves as better than anyone else but rather encourage those around them while still exerting positive authority. Efficient leaders keep an attitude which builds energy for those around them. However, this can only occur when that leader exerts an example which corresponds to the image they represent. Hypocrisy can be a Leader’s biggest downfall.
As a leader Coach Gideon has shown us that he is true to his word and that he never waivers from his dedication to us. This year we had had a tough preseason. After losing our first four games, the community had doubts concerning how we would perform in district play. The week before our first district game, Coach Gideon, using his common metaphorical way of teaching, had tied a piece of rope within each of our lockers. He told us that although people have already declared this game as a loss, we will still play for one another as one person would hold a rope for another as that person scales the side of a cliff. Many of us took his words to heart which resulted in us winning the game that Friday night. Although the game was an exciting experience, it was bittersweet due to our collapsed head coach who had to be rushed to the hospital. That night, we kept him in our prayers, hoping for a quick recovery, however no one expected to see him the following morning during film. With a tranquil posture, he slowly walked into the room and despite his weak health, told us of how proud he was that we held on to the rope. He showed me true dedication. He showed me the attitude of a leader. And most of all, he showed perseverance. He did not use excuses in order to rest, but rather he used that Saturday morning to fulfill the dedication of a Leader.
I have tried my best to mirror his example in every aspect of my life. My academic success I owe to Coach Gideon. Having the attitude of an achiever has allowed me to have self confidence in my work. Dedication has driven me to continue the International Baccalaureate program, and perseverance has enabled me to continue through many late nights of homework after football games and practice while still being an active youth leader within my church. Although Coach Gideon has been hard on me, I understand that his purpose has always been to teach me these lessons.