I have been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan all my life. (I thank God, Dave, and Peggy for that.) Growing up a Steelers fan in the 1970’s meant we basically had a singular enemy, the Dallas Cowboys. America’s team, my a%%! Now, my parents were two of the kindest people I ever knew, but they had nothing, NOTHING, NO THING, NOT ONE THING nice to say about the Cowboys players.
Except for one.
Roger Staubach. They liked him. They would grouse about the rest of the team, but they would always rein that in when it came to Staubach. As a kid, I couldn’t believe it. He was one of the bad guys, the enemy! How can you compliment the enemy? As I got a little older, I remained befuddled, but less indignant about the issue. I thought there must be something special about this guy if he’s on that team and Mom and Dad like him.
I had no idea.
Staubach retired. I grew up. I didn’t think much about him anymore.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a leadership event at the NFL Hall of Fame. Roger Staubach was one of the featured speakers. Wow!
Here’s who this cat is. Staubach went to the Naval Academy. He won the Heisman as a Junior. He served active duty and in Vietnam for four years after college. He played his rookie season at age 27. He won four NFC championship games and two Super Bowls. He led the NFL in passing four times and played in six Pro Bowls.
And he made a kajillion dollars in real estate. Yes, that’s right. 1 kajillion dollars.
But there’s a word I left out and did so intentionally. I didn’t say, “And then he made a kajillion dollars.” I said, “And he made a kajillion dollars.” That’s because in the early 70’s he started selling real estate in the off-season. That’s right. A professional athlete with a day job. He knew football was not a lifetime career. He knew we would need something when the game was over, and he planned for it. He didn’t step into a real estate empire. He took the long, hard road of building a business.
And with all that, he still considers himself a regular Catholic kid from Cincinnati.
Wow! I get why my parents didn’t bad mouth this guy.
So many lessons for me here.
- Another reminder that we need to get to know individuals instead of simply looking at them as part of a group.
- A reminder to have a plan and keep the long game in mind. You never know when the short game might change.
- Stay humble. No matter how much success you might have, you’re still just a person.