As we step into September and the summer heat starts to break and fall begins to emerge, we move into one of my favorite times of year. I love the cooler weather, the crisp air, the turning leafs and the sight of a tight end breaking off his block to find a soft spot underneath the coverage to catch a perfect chain-moving spiral then rumbling for additional yardage after the catch.
Oh yes, I love fall and I love the games played this time of year!
Of course this being a personal finance forum, I debated on a hook. Not a hook route, but a catchy parallel that would allow me to write both about finance and football at the same time.
I first thought about comparing the 3 phases of the game to 3 phases of our financial lives.
Offense, or having the ball, is like having money. What you do with the ball (or money) is very import to your outcome. Do you fumble it away or take care to save and invest wisely, picking your spots for big investments and generally trying to follow a game plan that allows you to achieve success over the long term.
Defense is budget management. How do you keep the ball from causing you harm? Stop someone else from advancing the ball on you by not accumulating debt and allowing interest to work against you. Lock down your spending so you can get debt off the field and start putting your money to work for you.
Special Teams are played at times with and without the ball and it is that way financially as well. How you plan, prepare, and execute against a sudden cash inflow (raise, bonus, inheritance) is equally as important as your intentional management of sudden events or expenses (car repair, Christmas, job loss, or emergency medical).
Sure, those are compelling parallels but I wasn’t sure that would be good enough so I looked into the idea of goals and self empowerment – a topic I’ve spent time with as well.
Football is the most unique of our mainstream sports. The teams are so much larger – NFL rosters are 53 men deep and high level colleges are allowed 85 scholarships but teams typically carry near 100 players once walk-ons are considered. And within this population exist a wide range of individuals each suited and assigned specific responsibilities intended for the betterment of the whole. Lean, sleek, cat-quick, and lightening fast pictures of fitness are used to catch and run the ball while large, lumbering, waistline endowed, tree trunk-shaped monsters are required to block, and clog and tackle.
Each of these varied specimens, and all those in between, are necessary and play vital roles in the orchestration of grid iron competition. As diverse as these athletes may appear side by side, it is only through the maximization of their own unique talents that their shared goal of team success is achieved.
In that way, what are your strengths and are you putting them to best use? Metaphorically, are you a 6’4” 320lb lineman trying to catch touchdown passes or are you a 175lb speedster attempting to block the oncoming rush. No matter the true extent of your ability, you are destined to frustration, and likely failure, if you are not in the proper position. So take stock of yourself and your strengths and determine how you may best be utilized against your objective. Remember, changing positions is not quitting or giving up, it’s simply gaining leverage on your abilities and outcomes.
Then finally I decided that I didn’t really need a hook. I could simply speak from my heart and let my passion be the message. You see, we all need something that by itself is not important, not serious. Something that when we apply our passion and energy it becomes significant to us. We need diversions from the day-to-day that allow us to use other elements of our being and creativity and excitement. These expressions recharge and renew us and allow us to attack the more mundane elements of our lives with more zest.
For me, one of my passions is football… particularly college football – the pageantry and tradition and enormous crowds radiating electricity. To me, there’s nothing like it and I am so pleased and satisfied to know that I now sit at its very cusp.
Photo By: Wire
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