American Football is like a Bad Religion

Watching Russell Wilson execute a bad play at the end of the Super Bowl, found myself kinda freak on him, “What was he thinking?!” But then I quickly realized, he’s not the one calling the shots. He was just being an obedient, subservient pawn of the true masters of the field.

I coach a soccer team for my two oldest sons. Obviously, young kids just starting out in any endeavor need a lot of coaching and instruction, but I’ve noticed during the game, when I bark orders from the sideline in the middle of play it distracts them. Ultimately they have to be making all the decisions for themselves while on the pitch. They need their eyes up constantly scanning the field looking for a teammate they can pass to.

If I am yelling orders at them at those crucial moments so that they have to look at me instead of upfield, I’ve taken their brain and focus out of “the zone.” It’s going to take them a couple seconds to process what I’m saying and refocus.

I’m doing my players a huge disservice if I train them to listen for my voice instead of listening to the instincts of their own inner voice.

Japanese scientists decided to measure the brain activity of Spanish La Liga Soccer Star, Neymar while he was playing the Beautiful Game. What they found is all kinds of fascinating. Neymar uses only 10 percent of the brain activity that other amateur players do. Brilliance at that level is not a product of conscious thought.

I also believe that these spontaneous and creative thoughts are born out of positivity, so if I’m going to yell anything from the sideline as a coach, it’s going to be praise. Praise being the fuel of creativity and confidence.

Too Much Conscious Brain Activity

American Football has so many rules even the referees can’t keep up with them. In the Super Bowl, there should have been a 15 yard penalty awarded because a player inadvertently made contact with the punter’s “plant” leg. I guess it’s different if the contact is with the kicking leg.

In the words of the immortal Charlie Brown, “Good grief.”

Rules are learned and processed by the conscious mind.

Bad Religion tells me if I memorize the “play book” and stay “spiritually fit” and do whatever the “coaches” tell me to do, and come to all the “practices” I’ll do well and be rewarded by the Owner of the team and his Head Coach.

But what’s the truth about doing well in this life and making an impact? Are the one’s who dutifully plug themselves into the system the ones who make the biggest impact? Or is it those who discover their own unique perspective can change the world?

Most of the biggest contributions to our world’s success and progress where given by those who didn’t plug themselves into a system. They had to trust their own inner voices and go against all the conventional wisdom of their time.

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a product of public education. Neither was Thomas Edison.

Martin Luther dared to step outside the teachings of the Vatican and read the Scripture for himself.

President William McKinley is known for being a pawn of J.D. Rockafeller and J.P. Morgan.  His successor, Theodore Roosevelt, is known for breaking the mould and putting an end to harmful business practices. Challenging the biggest “System” of his day.

Jesus of Nazareth challenged the religious system. He spoke of a way to make peace with God that couldn’t be controlled by the Powerful Elite. They killed him for it.

One Play Left

Right now, in my personal life I feel like I’m the quarterback. Time is running out. My energy level is running low. I’m listening for the call from the coach, but nothing is coming through my ear piece. The play clock is running down, I’ve got to make a decision, but I don’t know how. I haven’t been trained to think and plan for myself.

I’m frozen. I’m scanning the playbook strapped to my arm, but nothing seems right. I hear the voices of my fellow teammates calling out conflicting advice. I can even detect voices from the crowd offering up play options.

“Go with your gut.” Comes a thought out of nowhere followed by a scene flashing through my mind of what could be the winning play. I get a sense of peace and a sudden surge of confidence. A smile breaks across my face.

In this moment, I’m not thinking about the rules of the game. I’m not hearing the outside voices. I’m just seeing possibility and for some unexplained reason, I believe in it. It’s like a peace has come over me that defies explanation.

“Blue 52! Blue 52!” The ball is snapped. The play is in motion. I fake a half-step left, then break right. I pump my arm faking a throw, then release.

Time is frozen. In that moment, the result doesn’t matter. The fact that I just experienced a creative flash; that my subconscious just connected to a Higher Infinite Intelligence, somehow seems to outweigh the outcome of just one throw of the ball.

I have just experienced the potential for a new guidance system for my life. Everything pales in comparison.

Captain of F. U.

I am at a huge crossroads in my personal life. There is no right or wrong for my life. There is only the pursuit of happiness.

There are no coaches or playbooks. There is only my own subjective dreams and desires and those of my wife.

I’ve wasted too much time waiting for the Coach to tell me what to do. If anything is going to happen, I’m going to have to make it happen.

But in order to make anything significant happen, I’m going to have to find a way to tap into that inner voice. I must begin to play the game, turn off my conscious brain, and trust in the Spirit I have inside me.

It is time, once and for all, to silence the outside voices and the inside fears and just be who the hell I am. I have nothing more to offer anyone than who I am right now.

Back to the Superbowl

Patriots Rookie, Malcolm Butler intercepted the last toss by Russell Wilson to effectively win the game for his team. When interviewed after the game a very emotional Butler told reporters, “I just had a vision that I would make a big play. It’s hard to explain.”

Malcolm Butler had an unexplainable flash of brilliance. If you watch the way he came in, it does almost look like he knew where the ball was going to be.

I pray that Malcolm continues to listen to his inner voice and ignores the coaches who will inevitably try to take credit for his performance.

As for me, I know my battle is to accept myself for who I am. To be my own weird self. Even if I never find my place in this world.

Some of us can discover ourselves under the tuteledge of the System, learning to “play the game.” Some of us feel compelled to silence the other voices in order to find our own.

After all, Russell, when you leave the NFL you’re not going to have an ear piece telling you what to do. You’re going to have to call your own plays and live with the consequences.