Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Can Nick Saban teach me anything?

I'm a football fan.

My dad, from Oklahoma, instilled in me a respect and love for the game.

Bud Wilkinson and the University of Oklahoma's 47 game winning streak were part of the lore and legend that surrounded the house I grew up in.

So football is part of me. Which leads me to respect what Nick Saban has done at Alabama over the past 6 seasons.

This past Monday, Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson tide won their 3rd national championship in four years.

The question is how can Nick Saban be that good?

A glimpse of why Alabama and Nick Saban are that good is captured in this article by Michael Weinrib. The author suggests that it is Saban's drive to be the best that propels him toward excellence. At one point, the author explains, Saban was asked why he continued to do what he does.

And Saban sort of stared down the questioner for a second, and then he said this: "Why do you do what you do? Are you driven to be the best at what you do?"

The author goes on to connect Saban's drive to an example that Martin Luther King Jr. used when he was encouraging people, students in particular, to strive for excellence. In an article in the Seattle Times that captures Dr. King's words to a group of junior high school students in 1967, Dr. King is asking, "What is your life's blueprint.?"

Dr. King says to these students:

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.

So what can I learn from Nick Saban? I can learn the lesson that he learned from Dr. King and from his father. Be the best at whatever you are!

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