FOOTBALL: LIFE LESSONS LEARNED

I have always loved watching and playing football right from when I was a kid, I would play football till evening. Since my father was a Chelsea fan, the player whose name rung on my ears was Frank Lampard. ‘Oh! What a fantastic goal from Super Frankie’ was the default quote I grew up with, but as I got older, I came to love the Manchester United football club; the commanding presence of Roy Keane, the flair and class of David Beckham, the timely passes of Paul Scholes, the agility of Ryan Giggs. I needless say, I was in love with Manchester United and I never cease to write the number 7 on my books; as they say, the rest is history. 

It has become a common sight to see youths engage in all kinds of arguments at newspapers’ stands discussing about football matches, latest transfers, player-of-the season award et al. I’m always awed by the vast knowledge of football’s history these young men possess, simply put they are ‘connoisseur’ of football. Well, I know you might be thinking about what has happened to me? Do I still watch football? To be candid…Yes, but at my leisure time. In all my years watching and playing football, I have gained valuable life experiences that have been of paramount importance to my life personally and professionally, and I would love to share these with you.

Talent is never enough: Did I just say that? Yeah! That’s the honest truth. Talent is our natural advantage over others when it comes to performing certain things. It could be in writing, machines, drawing, mathematics, football, counseling, swimming, anything. But talent is overrated and inadequate when it comes to making our lives successful. We can’t rely on our talents alone. We must add determination, perseverance, character and hard work to our talents if we must succeed. When talent does not work, talent goes into oblivion; your talent can bring you to the top but can’t make you remain at the top. This reminded me of a quote from Jason Nazaar which goes thus:

 “Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable and multi-tasking generation yet. As my father says ‘I’ll give you a sh_t medal’. Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential. Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.”

Case study: Robinho (The player who never grew up)

2. Nothing trumps availability: When you are always available, a day would come you’d have your chance. You may be the most talented person for the job but when you don’t show up there is no way you can showcase your skills at the interview. Also, you may be the most intelligent student but if you don’t write the examination how can you prove your intelligence/brilliance. Even in football there are many players who were talented but were never available when needed.

Case study: Luiz Adriano (talented but undisciplined)

3. Hard work does not kill: As a student, entrepreneur or a professional in any field, this is an essential quality. Just work hard, someone might be watching, you don’t know who. Mike Clegg, former Manchester United development coach recalled in 2013 about Ronaldo “Ronaldo was a natural talent, a rough diamond, but he crammed in thousands and thousands of hours of graft to turn himself into the perfect player. He would be in the gym with me doing core work, and then he would do activation, then his actual football training. After training, Cristiano would come back into the gym and do some power work for his legs,” Clegg continued. “Then he would go home eat the right food, swim, sleep, where I am sure he dreamed about football, and come back in the next morning. He did that for five or six years and, knitted together, that made him become the player that was sold for 80million pounds”.

Little wonder why he has been consistent and at the peak for more than six years now. This is an attribute we have to inculcate to be successful; put in your best, even if your best is not good enough, at least you’d feel a bit fulfilled that you gave your pursuit a go.

Case study: Cristiano Ronaldo

4. Perseverance: Perseverance is our dogged and persistent determination to achieve a goal. As a famous man once said “Shoot for the stars, even if you fail, you’d land on the moon”.  Even when it seems as if you are failing, keep on trying and adding efforts; trust your instincts, have faith in your faith and doubt your doubts. Don’t ever look down on yourself, you can succeed, you are an homo-sapien with an unquantifiable capacity. You are unique, that’s not a flattery, it’s the truth; this reminds me of an old poem that says “Good better best, I shall never rest until my  good is better, and my better is best”

Case study: Portugal team that won Euros 2016

5. Humility does not cost a thing: You lose nothing by being humble. Don’t blow your trumpet your gifts will bring you to the limelight. A famous CEO of a Fortune 1000 listed company acknowledged he got to the position with the help of his driver…Surprising I guess? After resigning from his previous job, his driver told him that a friend of his told him that his boss just resigned and the position is vacant, and you know what? He gave it a try, now he is the CEO of the company. What if he didn’t develop a good rapport with his driver? That’s what humility can cause. When you do good others might accuse you of having ulterior motives, do good anyway. Be humble and you’d discover people will feel free to relate with you. Case study: Lionel Messi

Article written by Babaniyi Olaniyi

horlaneyee@gmail.com