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4 Life Lessons Gleaned From College Football

By: Brian Kim - October 2, 2014

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There's NOTHING like college football. The variety of offensive systems, coaching philosophies, matchups, upsets, the pageantry, the passion, the tradition, the bond between the fans and the schools, the passion for the game - and if you keep watching college football, you'll always see some life lessons you can glean from them.

Last week, with the Washington State Cougars facing Utah at Utah, in the pouring rain, the Cougars were down 21-0 in the first quarter. Head coach of the Cougars Mike Leach calls a time out and huddles his team. He tells them that he understands their desire to make big plays to make up for all the lost points, but when you do that, you make mistakes, then panic even more, and dig yourself into a bigger hole. Just go back to the basics. Do your job. Do your best. One play at a time.

And slowly but surely, they did just that, and clawed their way to a one point victory. It was one of the most improbable come from behind wins I've seen in some time.

Another game a couple weeks back was Texas vs. the UCLA Bruins. The starting quarterback for the Bruins goes down with an injury. The backup QB steps in and he looks shaky the first couple of snaps, but soon settles down, manages the game, and late in the final quarter, throws a beautiful pump fake fade to the side for the winning touchdown, and of course his teammates carry him up on their shoulders at the end of his game, chanting his name.

The lesson? Always be prepared. You never know what opportunity may arise. It's easy to relax and think an opportunity will never present itself but it can and if you're prepared, you'll be able to take full advantage of it.

Next, there's no particular game to reference here but if you've watched enough college football games you know what I'm talking about. One play. Just ONE play can change the entire complexion of a game. A penalty. A sack. A fumble. An interception. A big running play. A big pass play. A QB scramble up the middle. A big hit. A big punt return. A trick play. A first down.

Seeing that, it just reinforces that EVERYTHING matters. EVERY play. EVERY assignment. EVERY player. EVERY effort. It's much too dangerous to slack off because all it takes is one play to swing the momentum the other way. Everything counts so do your best to maximize the chances of momentum swinging your way.

Last, is something I read about how Baylor practices their offense. If they make a mistake, the coaches don't take the time to correct the team on what they did wrong. They just move onto the next play. This proves to be invaluable because come game time, mistakes WILL be made and if you've practiced moving on from mistakes during practice, it's no big thing during the game.

Other teams that don't have that experience may feel the nerves coming in, may second guess themselves, and may play worse after the mistake. But by conditioning the team to keep moving on from mistakes so quickly, they don't fall into that wallowing pit of negativity that plagues so many.

And that's where the trap is for SO many people. The time RIGHT after a mistake. It's easy to beat yourself up and wallow in a pool of self pity, but if you move on to the next "play", you're able to bounce back that much more quickly. You train yourself to keep moving forward which is an invaluable lesson.

So should you never learn from your mistakes? You should when you have some down time for reflection. You can look back and see what you could've done better and implement that in your "game plan" moving forward in life.

There are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed in life, where it hits the fan, and everything seems to be going against your way. What do you do then? Like Leach said, go back to the basics. For some, that may mean hitting the gym if they've been neglecting it, for others it may mean getting back to their hobby of reading, for others, it may be to reconnect with family and friends. Whatever your "basics" entails, chances are you've been neglecting them and that they can use some revisiting when feeling overwhelmed.

Opportunities will come in life that can only be taken full advantage of through preparation. Buffet always holds cash until he sees companies that he wants to buy at rock bottom prices and of course, the profit just goes to show how important preparation can be.

Everything matters. Do your best. You never know if doing your best on some seemingly insignificant task can open a door for you.

Mistakes will be made. Rather than get trapped in the wallowing hole of self pity, better it is to move on to your next "play". If you can make that a habit, then success will come faster than you ever imagined. Time for reflection later on will prove to be the time when you can learn from your past mistakes.

This is just a small sample of the many life lessons we can glean from college football.

Now it's time to watch some more :)

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