Lessons From The Field

Nobody thought they’d make it into the playoffs, but as they have been known to do, the Seattle Seahawks defied the odds and did. After a disappointing loss last night to the Dallas Cowboys, in which they mostly got in their own way, (although kudos to the Cowboys for doing what it took to come out victorious) it is time to reflect on the season, and what we can learn from this team that I love.

It isn’t other people’s opinion that matters.

The team started the year by losing all four of their pre-season games, the first two of the regular season, and entering week 10, found themselves with a 4-5 record. The football world pretty much wrote them off, casting this as a “re-building” year, not a year in which anything special could happen. Au contraire said those inside the locker room overlooking Lake Washington. That something special, as articulated by head coach Pete Carrol, one of the classiest in the NFL, is “Without question, it’s this connection our guys have. Their willingness to keep going the extra step, the extra mile, whatever it takes to keep adding.” They always believe that something good is about to happen, regardless of the odds, minutes left on the clock, or the media chatter, and more times than not, something good does, even if it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard.

There’s a difference between winning and being victorious.

In his post game press conference, WR Doug Baldwin admitted to being frustrated, sad, and disappointed. Who wouldn’t be? However, his message as one of the leaders in the locker room is that if the players, individually and collectively, can learn from this disappointing end to the season and use that to get better, closer, and more committed, while they might not be victorious, they still won in the bigger picture. “The challenges are hard, and it’s difficult, but you should never be afraid of failure. Failure is what helps you grow. If you’re not growing, you’re staying stagnant. If you’re staying stagnant, you’re done.”

While it’s about football, it’s not about football.

No doubt about it, life in the NFL has a relatively short shelf life. Career ending injuries, the end of a contract, or getting cut from the team, if it’s only about what happens on the field, that’s not a great return on the investment these players have to make to be able to play in a game open only to an elite few. If they don’t come out the other side of their career as better men, as better human beings, they’ve left way too much on the field. Again, WR Doug Baldwin - “I think the best thing we will do from this point on moving forward is that we will take these lessons and learn from them and grow and be better, not only as football players, but as men. That is vastly more important.”

Build on the past and move forward.

That about sums it up in a nutshell. On or off the football field, the past serves as the foundation for what will happen next. The past is out of their hands, leaving them free to grab hold of the future, believing that something good is about to happen. That sounds like a good way to live.

Onward and upward.

Go Hawks!