Create the future, play like champions and embrace your code of honor: Part 2 of 2

by Edward Henkler on January 14, 2014

In “The ABC’s of Building a Business Team That Wins”, Blair Singer tells the story of the Fiesta Bowl, which was played on January 3, 2003.  The Ohio State football team beat a heavily favored Miami Hurricane team and Blair believes their code of honor was a key element in their success.  The rest of this post is directly quoted from a speech by Jim Tressel, the Ohio State coach, as reported in Blair Singer’s book.


Create the future; play like champions

Create the future; play like champions

Tonight, you embark upon the last portion of a journey that you started many months ago.  Part of the journey involved some of our friends leaving us for various reasons to go their separate ways.  But those of you who remain are part of something special here.  You stayed for a reason.  You stayed on because you care about Ohio State, what it stands for, your teammates, and yourselves.

There comes a point in each person’s life when he asks himself: How do I want to be remembered?

The reality is that so few people have the chance that you have tonight.  You have the chance to affect the answer to that question.  The moment is at hand.  It’s not about tomorrow.  It isn’t about yesterday.  It’s not about what you did ten minutes ago.  But part of your future and how you’ll be remembered will be shaped by you over the next three and a half hours.

Look around this room and look at the person next to you.  How do you want that person to remember you?  How do you want them to remember how you played in this game?  How do you want your parents, family and friends to remember your performance on this night?  Will you be remembered as ordinary or extraordinary?

The coaches have prepared you for this game.  But there are several things to remember when you take the field:

  1. Play with heart.  No matter what happens, we don’t let up.
  2. Play with passion.  Don’t take this situation for granted.  Although you earned the right to be here, don’t assume you’ll be back.  Play it as if it were your last hurrah.  Play every single play like it’s the play that will save the game!  As the game goes on, each play adds up to a winning performance.
  3. Play within yourselves.  Remember what you’ve been taught and play within that.  So often, teams lose games because people start playing outside what they’ve been asked to do.  Trust your mates and know they have your back.
  4. Don’t let anyone take this moment away from you.  Not the crowd, not the press, not your friends and certainly not the Miami Hurricanes.
  5. Have fun!  Relish the moment.  An awful lot of young people will go through life wondering what it would have been like to be in your shoes.  Enjoy this!  Don’t be afraid to win!
  6. Play like champions tonight!  Play with the champion’s heart, mind, spirit and attitude.

Although it’s not included in the speech, you notice Jim’s focus on success, not avoiding failure.  We tend to achieve what we visualize and if we fear failure, that’s what we’re visualizing.

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