“He is good enough to get us beat.”
One of my good friends and colleagues, Greg Sewell, shared that phrase with me over 20 years ago while evaluating one our high school football players. Ours was a very good team, and he was a good player. I did not understand what Coach Sewell meant at the time – they were contradictory phrases – “good enough” – “get you beat”
What Coach Sewell was saying was that the player was pretty good, and would probably play well most of the time, most of the season. But, he (the player) had not worked to the point where, when it came to crunch time, “nut cutting” time as my friend Greg would say, he could stand up under the fire and succeed, and help the team succeed. Coach Sewell was saying that he would be a pretty good player as long as things were going well, that things weren’t tough. The player was satisfied with just being “good”, and was not willing to do the things necessary to become “great”.
Coach Sewell was prophetic.
Today is the Super Bowl – The Harbaugh Brothers Bowl. The 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh made a decision November 18 about a player that he felt was “good enough to get us beat”. After a concussion sidelined Alex Smith during a November 11 game, Coach Harbaugh made the decision to go with, and then stay with Colin Kaepernick as the starting quarterback, even after Alex Smith was cleared to play. At the time of his injury, Smith was having his best year — 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 104.1 passer rating. San Francisco was 6-2-1 in his starts. He took the 49ers to the NFC championship game last year, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Harbaugh made the decision because he felt that Kaepernick gave them the best chance of not only being a good team (getting to the divisional playoffs) but also being a GREAT team – winning the Super Bowl. Kaepernick has proven Harbaughs trust is well placed.
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
How do you go beyond being “good enough to get us beat”; beyond being just a good player?
You have to work. You cannot be satisfied or complacent. If you settle on just being the best at your school, at your position, you do not have the bar set very high. Good is the enemy of Great. You should strive to be the best – the absolute best that you can become. Strive to be great! Jim Collins also says,
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”
You have the choice. You can choose to be good; “good enough to get us beat”, or you can choose greatness. Greatness does not come easy, and has all those pesky things like, commitment, dedication, discipline, sacrifice, and effort, attached to it. But you can do it. You can do more!
Enjoy the Super Bowl – who will you be rooting for?
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org