A few thoughts stood out to me today. I've got to be honest too. After a stellar "Viking" performance that really set a standard, the other rookies have disappointed me in their vocal range. At lunch or dinner we appoint at rookie or two to stand on a chair and introduce himself. This generally consists of name, where you're from, and a favorite song to sing. Now I understand that not everyone is a performer, but we're looking for effort, song choice, and commitment. I mean show me a proud voice and emotion. If you give us what we want, we'll sing with you and clap along. For example, a great song choice would be "Lean on Me". Song choices to date have been weak but I promise you we'll get those rookies right. Besides, they'll keep stepping on chairs until we're happy. It's a lot easier that what I received in my rookie year. Without getting into it, let's just say I'll never look at tape the same way.
The learning curve is a process we all have to go through with no exceptions. Playbook installation is another facet of introduction I've briefly touched upon in prior blogs. In an attempt to elaborate on it, we have a master book that's approximately four inches thick. This is our football bible. Don't ever, EVER lose your playbook. In 2000, my playbook was stolen out of my car after a game. The car window was bashed in, but I couldn't of cared less about my car. The fine for the playbook was much worse and I had to go to meetings the following day sweating like I've never sweat before. I actually went to the police office and filed a report. Fortunately, about 24 hours later it was found tossed in a graveyard close to where my car was parked. I dodged a big bullet like Harrison Ford in "Blade Runner" and I saved a lot of money.
As far as the installation, especially early in camp, each night we learn 15-20 plays and the different formations we can use with each play. One play can be used with a possibility of 10 different formations or motions. A motion is when you see a guy moving purposefully before the ball is snapped. Obviously, it's not like we just show up and play. We spend as much time in meetings learning as we do practicing.
This is a perpetual commitment. It's never ending. A special teams' coach one told me "You either love the game or you hate to lose." At this level, there is no half commitment. It's all or nothing. That's why motivation is never a problem. Sure there are times when I need a kick in the butt, but the deep passion in my soul is what drives me in football and in life. That's one of the main things that I tell these rookies. You have to compete everyday or you WILL be embarrassed. The talent is there, but how bad do you want it.