Are You Excited Yet?

Sam BarkerMy friend Sam Baker plays for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2006 he played for the USC Trojans under Coach Pete Carroll. The Trojans travelled to Corvallis Oregon to play the Oregon State Beavers for what was to be an easy game. The Trojans were shocked that they were behind 23 points at half time.  The third quarter was just as unkind as they scored only once to close the lead to 16 points.

With one minute left in the third Quarter, Pete Carroll called a time out. The tired and despondent team came to the side line expecting to be chewed out. “I AM SO EXCITED!” shouted the coach. “I had to let you guys know as soon as I could that I am excited to see how you are going to handle the fourth quarter. You are the most physically fit team in the Pac 10, have some of the best coaching available in college football, BUT you have never been in this position before. I am excited to see how you guys are going to handle this. I apologize for wasting a time out, we may need at the end of the game, but you just had to know how excited I am.”

Pete accomplished a lot in this short speech. First, he reminded them of who they are in the heat of the battle.  We forget the qualities, value and skills we have when we are being attacked by life. Secondly, he told them to forget what happened. How they got to this crisis was unimportant. What was critical at that moment was to look forward. Finally, Pete focused on the most important issue at the moment, their character. Pete recognized that a win without character is just a momentary record book victory. To build a person’s character is a win that will last a lifetime. Each player returned to the field focused on how they were going to measure up to the challenge.

The Trojans scored in the fourth quarter on a pass from John Booty, made a two point conversion and were within 8 points. With seconds left in the game, the Trojans again scored and lined up for the two point conversion to tie the game.

I remembered this story going to the doctor. My body was telling me that something was not right. After a few tests, the doctor came in the room; put his glasses on, sat down, stared at the report and in a very somber tone said. “Your suspicions are correct, you have Type II diabetes.” Looking the Doctor straight into his eyes and grinning I said, “Doc, I’m excited to see how we are going to handle this!” He sat back, put his glasses up on his head, relaxed and said “I have never had a response like that from a patient.” His whole demeanor changed. It would be easy to get this under control if I did my part. Looking at this situation as an adventure instead of a problem changed the process and the results.  We did not waste time on the past and immediately forged into the future.

Therefore, challenge yourself with this action item for your life. When you reach the point of desperation, despair, and hopelessness DO NOT GIVE UP. Tell yourself, “I AM EXCITED” to see how this is going to turn out. You will be amazed at how well you will do and how your attitude will be moving forward and pressing on.

Oh, by the way, I had to look up the game again to make sure I had the facts straight, but I never have to look up what Pete Carroll said that day. The Trojans missed the two point conversion and lost the game.

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