The game of football is unique because it takes 11 players acting as one to achieve success on the field.

It also gives coaches across the country the opportunity to build and shape young men and women, helping to prepare them for their future endeavors.

Many things that football teaches are obvious, such as teamwork, hard work, perhaps most importantly, preparation. Many coaches imparted knowledge that I apply in my daily life. In fact, I live by the 5 Ps daily: “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” The 5 Ps are true when you are preparing for a football game as well as anything you set out to do in life. Preparation is essential to success.

However, there are other lessons and traits I learned playing football that I didn’t expect. Here are five things I did not anticipate learning from my time on the gridiron:

Community service

Football provided a platform for me to see how important it is to give back. Most of the teams and coaches I played for had community service initiatives lined up for us. At that juncture, I did not understand how important it was to make a difference but as I grew older, this was something I found myself doing often to make an impact on someone’s life.

Value

We all have something of value to bring to the table. Not everyone is destined to be the star quarterback or receiver, but you can certainly be the best special teams, scout team, or backup daily because it starts with your mindset and how you attack each practice or each day. Finding your niche is essential to your own personal success and the game of football displayed this to me.

Responsibility

The game of football taught me early in my career that football was not a right but a privilege. It was my responsibility to make sure my grades were intact and that I followed the rules and guidelines that my coach enforced. Otherwise, I would be off the team. The same concept applies to the workplace.

Character

Sports build character. My coach always encouraged us to be men of integrity and honor, and to leave a legacy that would never be erased. One thing that always resonated with me that my coach said was, “Do not leave a legacy of stats, but leave a legacy that your teammates would remember you for your selfless spirit and always putting the team first.”

Work ethic

Sure, work ethic on the field is an obvious one. But the game of football taught me to take my competitive edge into other fields of my life, which I find myself doing more than anything else. This causes me not to settle for mediocrity and to take pride in anything I am working on.

There are many more lessons that I learned that I did not anticipate that football would teach me. When you strap on the pads, you may not realize it, but you’re learning lessons about life.

Work hard. Be great.

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