Football Inspires the Unthinkable (And That's Why I Dig It)

In the past 48 hours, I've consumed roughly 12 hours of NFL. I've watched as more yards got run than plays got stopped, seen a team emerge from their imminent 0-2 status to clinch a game in the final 3 minutes, and another team rebound to new heights and a 2-0 lead with their back-up quarterback after their star QB had a season-ending accident last week.

We're only a week into the NFL's regular season and we've seen our share of daring athletic feats and bone-headed moves. (The Eagles' receiver, DeSean Jackson, is a prime example of the lethal cocktail of talent and hubris.)

People ask me why I like football. I don't entirely get the game to be honest. I do know that a team has 4 attempts to make a play and if they can't, they need to rethink their immediate game plan. I know there's a ton of strategy that goes into plays, that the quarterback may not be the coach but he has to a lot of quick-thinking and improvising on the field - often singlehandedly calling the play that can make or break a moment and determine a team's success.

And that in the end, no single person on the team is any greater than any other, star QB or not, cause it takes all of the players working together (and parking their egos aside) to make it the post-season. As it happens, football also happens to be a ripe metaphor for a freelancer due to many common, shared parallels:

  • Be The Underdog: Peyton Manning & The Colts proved to us this week that sometimes smelling repeated defeat is all you need sometimes to catapult your motivational spirit to the next level. In my own experience, my confidence is never higher then when after I've failed at something big-time and can find within myself that driving force to start climbing back up the hill again.
  • Let The Chips Falls Where They May: This one is hard, especially when you like to plan ahead, need to know how things will play out, if you're like me, even Wikipedia a movie while you're watching it to see how it all unfolds. There's a lot to be learned through process and results-oriented people need to remind themselves of this. Just like a football game has 4 quarters, life is also cyclical with its share of ups and downs and turning points. Learn to live with them and you'll be much happier, or so people tell me!
  • Embrace The Unknown: One of the reasons I dig football so much is cause there's a lot of taking chances which sometimes results in zany, WTF-were-you-thinking moves, but I love it all the more when people get away with "the unthinkable," debunk the system, and make up their own set of rules as they go along. Call it the rebel in me, or simply the idealist freelancer which hopes that risk-taking moves, such as working solo, will pay off one day.
  • Make Time For Pep Talks With Yourself: In football, the coach takes "time outs" to amp up his players, get them focused, energized and feeling good. In life, we need to make time for these moments too and just as often if not more often than just once a day. On days I feel low I tend to build my confidence back up again talking it out with friends, family, or if all else fails a giant boost of caffeine! My sister swears by lists. Create a long list of things you like about yourself or your life. #1 on my list is the fact that I have the time in my day to write a meaningful post for my blog, make a mean pot of chicken soup on a seasonably Fall day, and feel a strong sense of accomplishment by 5 PM.

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