Gut Rumbles

January 29, 2008

Fatherly advice

Originally published December 16, 2003

I never heard my father use foul language around me when I was a child. I learned later in life that he was a proficient curser, but he hid that stuff from me when I was a boy. Yeah, he tried to raise me right, too.

I believe that the first time I ever heard him use foul language was when I was about 15 years old and going through my first three-a-day summer camp practices for football. When we finished the morning practice, I was beat-up, tired and just about ready to quit. The temperature was 103 degrees and I was supposed to be back on the field in an hour. My father was there to watch.

"Dad, I ain't real sure I can do this," I said. "This is the first day and I'm ready to drop right now. I've got three more weeks of this crap staring me in the face."

My father grabbed me by my shoulder pads and looked me in the eye. "If it was EASY, any asshole could do it," he replied. "How much do you want to play on this team?"

If it was EASY, any asshole could do it.

I've never had a finer piece of advice in my life. I don't care what you go after in this world. Good things never come easy. If you want success, achievement and respect for what you do, you have to work hard to earn those things. I learned the virtue of busting my ass, getting up when I didn't believe that I could and taking just one more step because another guy was still on HIS feet. I learned to work for what I wanted.

Life isn't easy. I believe that most people chart their own course in life, and sometimes they end up on the rocks. Shit happens. Sometimes the wreck is caused by random fate, but usually, if you examine the situation closely, the finger of blame points squarely at your own face in the end. You pilot your own ship. YOU put the boat on the rocks through the choices that YOU made. I know very few innocent "victims."

That's the way life works. If it was easy, any asshole could do it.

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