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What is Your Team Teaching You?

posted on October 17, 2022

Steelers had an upset this weekend, Pitt had a bye, and there is also a team in Central PA playing football (I don’t like to admit my alma mater exists). Growing up in Western PA I knew football from an early age. My grandfather coached Bill Cowher, I played Pop Warner football with kids who ended in the NFL. I also, spent 20 years coaching at the college level (strength coach not football). Coaching and football are in my blood. Though sport and training I have seen some great teams, some bad teams, and some average teams. In life we can decide who our own team is, and that is a beautiful thing.


The last two weekends I have had the honor of attending two former football players weddings. Spending time with my former students is always a learning experience. They remind me of what I said, what made an impact, and the mistakes I made. After all the years of coaching I am proud of the team I have around me, from all my previous mistakes, and successes. I want to share a few lessons that I have from all those teams. Remember, your team can be anyone family, friends, or an actual sports team.


Here are a few lessons I was reminded of the last few weekends.


  1. The journey is what matters. As we looked back and discussed our pasts it hit me that we rarely spoke of actual games, or wins and loses. We did speak about experiences we had together. Find a team and create some memories through training and life.
  2. You have no idea how important your words are. This hit me hard as every time I see former students they say to me, do you remember when you said, x, y, and z. I rarely remember whatever quote that I assume I said. The lesson is they will remember what you say so select your words carefully.
  3. No matter what happens show respect. I have always respected my students, and in most cases that respect has been reciprocated. What I must add here is that I have also failed at times in this respect. The former students who know me call me out, and keep me honest on this one.
  4. A person never touches the same river twice,  (paraphrase Heraclitus). For the person or the river has changed over time. This is such a hard lesson for educators and parents to understand, yet we all grow and evolve. What speaks to you now, will not do the same in the future.
  5. Success in life is better than any success on the field or in the gym. Nothing to add to this.
  6. Pittsburgh cookie tables should be illegal. Again nothing to add, except maybe insulin.
  7. Whenever one invites you to their wedding it means you are one of the most important people in their life. I think of this at every wedding I attend.  Take this seriously, do all you can to attend, and support your friends.


There are my thoughts from seeing some old students,  I am happy to be a small part of their lives. I was asked recently if I was too old to be invited to so many weddings. It struck me as I realized most people don’t still have multiple wedding a year when they are in their 40’s. I am glad I do and hope this continues well into my 50’s, 60’s, and until I’m 128 years young. I plan on staying around a while so get used to me.


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