I was reading Sports Illustrated’s issue commemorating Florida State’s National Championship season, and was struck by the following paragraph quoting senior linebacker, Telvin Smith:
“I used to look at the game and say, ‘I love to play. I respect the game. I’m going to play hard every time I’m on the field, but then I turned around and looked at it and said, ‘it’s not just a game to me. This is everything to me.’ I stepped up my role as a man off the field and started going to class. I [went to ] tutors. When you start to line up that type of stuff [off the field], the on-the-field stuff takes care of itself.”
This quote reached me on many levels and affirmed several of my core beliefs. First, there is a connection between your conduct and habits off the field and how you perform on the field. It doesn’t just matter, they are connected. Being on time, handling your responsibility and managing your time build habits that serve your pursuit of excellence.
Second, there are far more guys that love the game and play hard when they are on the field than those that give themselves to the game. The smaller group is the special one. The game encompasses their life not just the hours of practice and games. By living the game, they find the difference making capacity of a proper diet, rest, visualization, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and the accumulation of skill which is ultimately the difference between good and great.