Friday, February 09, 2007

“Pressure is what you feel when you are unprepared.”

(This was sent to me by a friend and i thought it was good enough to share).

For those of you who do not like football and clichés skip this article.

Super Bowl XLI (aren’t the Roman numerals just a little pretentious?) is over. It recorded the second largest television audience ever, or so I read. Someone won, someone lost. Truthfully, I didn’t watch the game as we were stranded at Whistler - after the rock slide - without cable. But I enjoyed reading about it. And there was one quote that caught my attention. It was Peyton Manning (the Indianapolis Colt’s quarterback and ultimate MVP of The Game) who, in turn, quoted Chuck Knoll (hall of fame, former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won four Super Bowls).

“Pressure is what you feel when you are unprepared.”

For whatever reason, I related to this. Perhaps this is because the quote focuses primarily on effort and intent. If one is well prepared and puts forward their best effort, in the end, they should not be pressured by the ultimate results. There is a great sense of freedom is this and I wish that I had learned it earlier. I also wish that my children could learn this as well.

There is a great deal of pressure on students today, much more so than a generation ago. And a great deal of this pressure is exclusively results oriented. Not every student will get 100% on every test or exam. Not every student will sink a three pointer at the buzzer to win the game. But if you study and practice hard and if you give it everything that you have, ultimately you can pleased- if not proud- of your efforts and accomplishments. And if the results are not up to the standards that you have set, learn from your mistakes, study and/ or practice harder and try again.

Peyton Manning is one of, if not the, hardest working quarterbacks in the NFL. And his postseason record, until this year, was terrible (it now stands at 7 – 6). He lost three BIG play-off games in 2004, 2005 & 2006 to the ultimate Super Bowl Champions each time (New England in ‘04 & ‘05 and Pittsburgh in ‘06). Each time he came back, worked harder, learned from his mistakes and ultimately prevailed this year.

Just to close the loop, by way of trivia, Chuck Knoll originally stated the quote above; Knoll both coached (as a safety) and later hired (as a Defensive Backs Coach) Tony Dungy (and he strongly supported Dungy as a potential head coach); as Head Coach Dungy lead Peyton Manning and the Colts to victory in this Super Bowl XLI; and Manning restated Knoll’s quote after the game.

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