Working class wins. But the working class is slowly disappearing.
None of my championship football teams were white collar teams. Each one was a blue-collar, lunch-bucket team. Working class. They spilled blood and guts. They put their heart and soul into every play, practice or game. My blue-collar teams were consistent – you couldn’t tell the difference between a practice rep and a game rep. They played at high-speed all the time, regardless of whether they were practicing or playing the real game. Every day was game-day. There was not distinction between practice-day and game-day. The intensity was the same. The desire was the same.
But the working class is slowly disappearing. During 40 seasons of coaching football, I have witnessed a shrinking working class, smaller and smaller numbers who will consistently spill their guts to get what they’ve set out to get. The work force in football has become an exclusive club that fewer and fewer are willing to join. During the past decade, commitment to training has dwindled to a state of embarrassment. Healthy 18-22 years olds missing practices, missing workout, even missing games because they simply don’t have it. They don’t have what it takes but they try to fool themselves into believing that mediocrity is enough to pass for a win. The number of delusion student-athletes who believe that half-assed commitment will win a championship or win a scholarship or win a pro contract is growing and growing. Delusion is growing faster that strength, speed, and stamina. In fact, delusion is the only growth being experienced. More and more student-athletes believe that they can strike it rich with low-investment high-return. Every season, rookies and veterans alike tell me the same goal, “I want a scholarship.” But less and less want to face the reality of what it takes to get one.
This type of mentality is a cross between arrogance and ignorance to believe that the highest reward will be earned with the lowest investment. What’s worse is the growing number of opportunities they’re given. My football team, the Niagara X-men, is a second-chance team. It’s a second chance for unrecruited high school graduates to get recruited. Niagara X-men are Canada’s only collegiate club team that plays in the USA so players can have the strongest competition to get evaluated. To get a scholarship, you have to prove evidence – extraordinary performance against the strongest available competition. We play American university and college teams –the best available competition. Their coaching staffs evaluate our players. We film every game and send it to major universities for evaluation. Logically, you would expect blood and guts commitment from 100% of the team. Wrong. Not even close. The commitment is not even in the same ballpark.
The past decade of football has been a mystery. This type of mentality doesn’t just happen. It’s built. Developed over years of rewarding and reinforcing mediocrity. I have tried to unravel hardwired half-assed commitment. Its worked on some, didn’t work on others. It depends on the work force. It depends on the working class. Those who have learned the true value of work get it. Those who don’t won’t. The problem isn’t small. It’s an epidemic. Apathy, lethargy, and abject laziness is growing and growing. The good news is if you have a healthy work ethic, you will make it big because the competition is thinner and thinner – literally and figuratively. I have never seen weakness in healthy male student-athletes as I have witnessed during the past decade. Physical and mental weakness. I have witnessed an energy crisis – student-athletes void of the energy needed to enjoy the transformational power of training. The energy crisis didn’t just happen. It was built –developed. Softness and spoiled don’t just happen. They’re by-products of sitting around wasting away.