If you love the game

If I may beg your indulgence a bit, I have a love story of sorts.  Inspired in part by “anonymous”.

If you love the game:

“Then life truly began when the season started.”  

Team dinners are the best sit down meal of the week.

Hudl is your preferred form of social media

Bruises are your favorite fall colors

Wearing white to out-of-town events is still permissible after Labor Day.


Tape has become your socks

You accessorize with ice packs

Eye black brings out your cheekbones

And the hitch in your giddy-up later in life is still your source of pride and joy.

If you love the game:

Having the opportunity to practice the day after a game is as big a deal as playing under the lights on Friday nights.  


Scout team is the ideal way to contribute. A golden opportunity to make the team maximize its potential and achieve its goals.

A role on special teams may be your ticket to change the course of a game – or season – through superlative effort and will.

If you love the game:

Then no matter what – A or B, JV or reserve, starter, or finish out the rout – “just get me on that field. 

Being wedded to a position will never supplant being bonded to a unit or the team.

Still being there for them though hurt casts a lasting impression.

You can’t be hung up on the division.  Just play on in college.

If you love the game:

Embrace the blessings and needs of being a member of a large, multi-generational, extended family


Depend upon the friends you found in the weight room, during speed and agility, at morning misery, during two a days, and with your back to the goal line.  

They are here for you now – and most likely will be later on in life.

If you love the game:

Stop an errant “brother”, diffuse a bad situation, console a friend in need, and raise another up even if you are down.

Invest.  Time given freely to another is a precious gift.

Smile the most when accolades and attention for your team and teammates are delivered.

Be humble; you are but one in a long line of fine athletes that came before – and will follow you.


Commit.  Relentless effort, stellar character and extraordinary leadership regardless of your role is the best way to honor that big family.

If you love the game:

Honor all of this for what it truly is; a rare and fleeting privilege

Lean in.  A challenge of this magnitude – to work harder than you ever have at something, and then, work even harder than that  – is an extraordinary opportunity.  One that needs to be accepted with genuine and lasting gratitude


Let go.  Giving up all of you for something bigger is a life-changing event.

If you love the game:

Trust.  That all of them will honor the sacrifices you make on their behalf in kind.

Respect.  Everyone has something in them that can make this team like no other – before or after.

Affirm.  Prove their genuine worth to you through your thoughts, words and deeds.

Be accountable.  

Yes, to the ones with the whistles.  

But more so to your partner in the weight room.  Those sharing morning misery. The one next to you on the bus.  Your teammates doing up downs.  Your unit when you huddle.  The three-tech on the line of scrimmage.  And that guy next to you right here, right now.

If you love the game:

Make it about all of them by leaving all of you on that field.


Because if you can love the game this much, then because of you, they will love the game too.

Thanks for the inspiration “Anonymous”


Author: Mark J. Hahn

"To be there when the light goes on." Those few, powerful words, succinctly sum up my quest as a coach. That is really what it is all about. This is precisely what drives me. To have good fortune shine upon me briefly so that I can be present at that very moment. The instant of revelation. When the years of heavy lifting results in it making sense for someone else. The almost audible “click”, followed instantaneously by an unmistakable incandescence. The illumination that can only accompany accomplishment. To see bean in the eyes, the look on the face, a change in stature and the air of confidence overtake and envelope the protoge, the “project” or the late bloomer. That is why I am in it. There may never be a stat for achieving those kinds of victories. But it is by far the most important “w” I will ever achieve.

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