• How WinForever explained why football is relevant for the rest of our lives

    May 29th, 2013 | BY: | IN: Features

    This is Lakeside School’s Cole Stephens.

    WinForever Ambassador and Northwest Elite Index’s Scott Enyeart says of Cole Stephens: “He doesn’t look like your typical football player. He looks more like a guy who will be signing your paycheck someday as the CEO of a major corporation. But, in reality, looks can be deceiving, because while Seattle (Wash.) Lakeside School RB/WR/DB Cole Stephens may not “look the part” to some people, the minute he steps on a football field, that all changes.

    “You see, the 5-foot-9, 150-pound Stephens wasn’t allowed to play football until the 9th grade. He says his parents thought football was too dangerous, and were worried about his size.”

    The following is an essay that Cole wrote about WinForever, how it has impacted his life and it has shown him why football is relevant for this rest of his life:

    We have all played the game. We have all heard how “the lessons we learn in football will be present for the rest of our lives.” Having immersed myself in the football culture and having played the game, I agreed full heartedly with this statement. After months of pondering late at night, and a solid weekend of reading Win Forever, I came to terms with why my career in football would prove significant to the rest of my life. In addition to the memories I would make and bonds that I would form with my teammates, the fact that football demands and rewards constant and tremendous effort in so many different fields of ability means that a football player is always competing—and will therefore be a greater competitor for the rest of his life, a trait that will prove essential to his life as a friend, co-worker, father, husband, leader, and all-around team member.

    Cole Stephens (via Northwest Elite Index)

    Cole Stephens (via Northwest Elite Index)

    One of the reasons that I believe this philosophy of always competing relates to the rest of our lives is because the competitive spirit created on the gridiron promotes active, hard-working behavior in our working lives.  Likewise, the vice versa is true; if you always compete in everything you do, “even if it’s small, silly stuff” (page 88 in Win Forever), it will make you a better competitor, and hence, a better football player. As Pete Carroll says, “you’re either competing to be the best you can be or you’re not.” (12) This statement has no limits, and applies to every facet where we put forth an effort, whether it is being the “leading scorer in the [celebrity basketball] game” (87) or “playing cards, golf, or board games” (11). Persons such as Jerry Rice and Pete Carroll’s father competed in everything they could, as their competitive spirits were inextinguishable; these competitive spirits likely contributed to Jerry’s success in the NFL and Carroll’s father’s successes as a parent. This habit of always competing is forged both on and off the football field, and yields its bounty in the exact same way—but to attain this reward of a forever competitive attitude, one must always compete.

    When I came to the conclusion that always competing in football would make us better competitors for the rest of our lives, I could not wrap my head around why other sports do not make us as extreme of competitors in a similar manner; after all, every field of athletics has the opportunity for an athlete to compete and be victorious, just like football. However, football is unique in the sense that success is almost purely derived from effort and competition. Obviously, technique and strategy is imperative to win, but to win an individual battle on the field, athletes must simply drive their legs with a motor so great that no opponent can block, tackle, or control them. This is a pure, violent action of drive that is a result from constant competition that is not present in most other sports. Football gives us players that opportunity to be successful purely from physical competition.

    Ultimately, the Win Forever philosophy of always competing helped me realize and fully understand why we truly play the game, and why the game is so unique. This idea of competition has made itself apparent in almost every facet of life, as competition with oneself essentially captures the idea that we can only be the best that we can be, and anything else is unsatisfactory. The WinForever philosophy also allowed insight on what defines true success; is true success any 11-0 team? Or does success describe a team that has competed with itself down to the last man to be the best that it can be? Evidently, a team that pushes itself to the best of its ability will be much more successful than a team that does not, but at the end of the day, what we will forever take away from the game is not wins and losses, but by how much we gained from always competing.

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