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Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

October 8, 2019

My son plays cornerback for his high school football team. Last year was his first year playing. Last year he made the Sophomore team and got to dress for the JV games. This year he’s on the JV team and he gets to dress for the Varsity games.

Cornerback is considered a skill position. Basically the cornerback lines up on the defensive side of the ball near the sidelines and goes up against the offensive wide receivers. Wide receivers are generally the fastest players on the offensive. At the snap of the ball they explode off the line and run a predefined route that they hope will put them in a position to catch the ball.

The cornerbacks have to cover those wide receivers. Where the wide receiver is running forward, the cornerback starts off running backward. Where the wide reciever runs a predefined route, the cornerback has to attempt to keep up with him while not knowing which direction he’s going to turn.

Cornerbacks are typically the fastest runners on the defensive. It takes a lot of effort to match the speedy wide recievers.

My son wants to play varsity. . .or maybe quit. He loves football, but he’s frustrated that he doesn’t get to play more. He’s literally the fastest runner on the team. But, he just hasn’t played enough.

He approaches football in a way that I wish he approached his schoolwork. He watches film. He watches his own plays on tape. He works out in the weight room. He attends every practice.

Steve Martin, the actor, comedian and now banjo player was not a naturally funny person. He just worked incredibly hard at it. His personal motto was

Be so good they can’t ignore you.
– Steve Martin

It’s the advice I gave my son. He wants to play in the NFL. He’s a little small for a high school player, at 5’9″. But, there are certainly shorter NFL players. I don’t attempt to discourage him. The odds of him ever taking a snap in the NFL are really poor. But, I figure that everyone playing in the NFL currently was once a 16 year old high school player with dreams of playing in the NFL.

My son can’t do much about his height, but the rest of his preparation is up to him. I explained that if he’s good enough, it doesn’t matter if the coaches like him or not. He’ll play. Since the defensive coordinator is literally our next door neighbor, I’m pretty sure that it’s not an issue with him being an unknown.

My son may or may not ever get to play in college or the NFL, but what he absolutely can do is become the best football player he can become.

Our own jobs are like that. Just as a football coach is interested in winning games, and will play the best players in trying to achieve that goal, your company wants to be successful. Whether you are a programmer, marketer, program manager, or janitor, the best advice is “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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