Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Act Like You've Been There Before

Isaiah Mustafa is a name you may not know, but you probably know his face. He is the man on today's Old Spice commercials. You might also recognize him from his appearance in the film, Horrible Bosses.You may even remember he played in the 1997 Rose Bowl for the Arizona State Sun Devils and went on to play for the Titans, Raiders and Browns -- albeit on their practice squads. He recently was interviewed for a magazine article and shared some insights about the role his father and other male role models have played in his life.

He shared how his dad used to support the family as a limousine driver. He even dropped him off at school in a limousine once when he was in first grade; the other kids thought he was famous. His dad gave him a status in the school community, even if it was an accidental event.

Mustafa credited a football coach with some advice he still uses to live his life. The coach told him, "If you score a touchdown and do a crazy dance in the end zone, it tells a story. The story is that guy's never been there before. Instead, flip the ball to the ref, run back to the huddle and make your next play -- act like you've been there before."

It's interesting to watch all the dances, celebrations, leaps and taunts that NFL players exhibit after they sack a quarterback, intercept a pass or score a touchdown. As I view these gyrations, I appreciate the words of the wise coach who schooled his receiver, "Act like you've been there before." There is something to be said about the player who makes an excellent play and then calmly goes back to the huddle to do it all over again. The message is simple, but it comes through loud and clear: I've done it before and I'll do it again.

Perhaps this is a lesson we can pass on to our children: do you best, always. If you are a receiver, you are expected to make touchdowns. When you do, don't act like it's the first time you've seen the end zone. Instead, show others it's simply the last time you've scored, and there's plenty more where that came from.

In today's society we tend to think short term, focusing only on today's task. We often lose sight of the broader horizon and the knowledge that success comes with hard work and persistence. Maybe we can teach our children that the quiet dignity of a job well done is its own reward. Simple and understated, it makes the doer look like he regularly gets the job done right, and there should be no surprise he did it again.

On the other hand, there are those individuals who rarely get noticed for their unsung jobs. Let's hold the end-zone jigs and nutty dance moves for those rare times when a defensive player picks up the fumble and lumbers in to score.

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