Coach Herman Boone, Remember the Titans
Coach Boone. One of my favorite sports movie characters of all time and a true embodiment of what a coach should be: fearless, passionate, demanding, motivating and a team builder. The story may be historical fiction, but the lessons taught and lessons learned are as important and applicable now as much they were then (1971).
Coach Boone taught us that trust, not talent or intelligence or even practice, is the most critical element to an effective and successful team. Trust that your teammate will cover his area of the field without your help. Trust that others will be in the right place and the right time just as you expected. Trust that no matter who they are or where they’ve been, your teammates are equally and wholly invested in pursuing the same goal. Ironically, it is this very trust and reliance on teammates that can truly set individuals free and push them to new levels of success, of greatness. Once you believe in your peers to cover your back, you are free to focus all of your energy on completing your assigned task to the best of your abilities. And when everyone buys into this philosophy, then a team like the Titans begins to blossom.
Coach Boone taught us that winning isn’t given to the most deserving suitor nor is it something that can be taken lightly. Winning should be earned by putting in the time, effort, focus and belief that you will be the best every time you take the field, practice or game-time. When it is achieved, winning should be cherished and respected. It should be recognized as a reward for commitment and determination. However, it should never be held too close as winning lives in the present, is a goal for the future, but can be a crutch if doted on in the past.
Coach Boone urged us to always see our games and our sport as but only a small part of the wider world. He taught us to stay grounded in reality and appreciative of the camaraderie and respect that grows in the locker room and on the field as society might not allow for such privileges. He taught us that the lessons learned as a good team member could also be applied in other areas of our lives to facilitate change, foster new trust and encourage acceptance. He showed us that although the sports world might seem simple or childish, it can actually be an incredibly powerful driver of change especially when the rest of society seems stuck in its misconceptions.
Finally, through his powerful words and decisive actions, Coach Boone showed us that a strong leader and role model can be one of the most influential figures in our lives. Be it a coach, a parent, a sibling or a mentor, when someone is there to challenge you, to guide you , to teach you and to empower you then it is amazing what you can do. And often these are the same people that rarely take or even expect any type of gratitude for all that they’ve done to change, improve or better others’ lives. So take a few seconds to think of your “Coach Boone” and make sure you let them know how much you’ve appreciated their motivation and direction.
“We will be perfect in every aspect of the game. You drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. You fumble the football, and I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts and then you will run a mile. Perfection. Let’s go to work.”
Also, for some more Coach Boone inspiration, check out this highlight reel of the Most Inspirational Moments from Remember the Titans
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