Today at our last home Griz soccer game I was talking to Nate, our video production coordinator in the department. One of Nate’s many duties is to produce the show you see on Griz Vision each Saturday in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. He oversees several student-workers and lots of expensive equipment to make sure the 26,000 fans who pack the stadium each home Saturday are treated to a great experience via our video board. I asked Nate how yesterday’s game went for him and his crew and how it compared to the rest of the games this season.
He answered by saying several things. He said that yesterday’s game went well and that it was a solid, consistent effort from his crew. He said that his team has really come together this year and exceeded the expectations that he had at the beginning of the year. He said that the last two games have gone great and improvement has been evident. He mentioned an early season game where things didn’t go too well because of some timing issues, a rough second half, and things (equipment) breaking down. Nate then stopped right about there and said “Sorry, I sound like a coach.”
I responded right away by saying, “Nate, don’t be sorry, I do the exact same thing…for everything.”
Working in intercollegiate athletics you are around a sporting mindset 24/7. You work with coaches and players every single day. You hear them at press conferences, coach’s shows, and just in casual face-to-face conversation. With soaking so much of this in, and with so much of it repetitive, it is easy to kind of pick up on what they say and use it in your own vernacular.
I use “coachspeak” within the responsibilities of my own job all the time. I evaluate how our marketing interns do (they executed their responsibilities perfectly for all four quarters on Saturday), how our website performs (our site is taking advantage of the busiest time of the year and really producing some incredible traffic numbers) , how our gameday presentation goes (Pregame was well planned and ran smoothly on Saturday), how our social media channels engage (Griz Social Media is at the top of the whole FCS and it still has considerable room to grow), how Monte competes in the Mascot Challenge (Monte’s loss in last week’s round has really motivated Griz Nation to not let it happen again as his opponent this weekend, the Oregon Duck, is getting absolutely trampled) , and on and on for pretty much every other duty I have.
I can’t help it. I work in athletics so naturally I take my tasks and speak of them in the same way our football coach or basketball coach would. But here is the thing: I don’t just use a coach’s way of talking and thinking just for my job…I use it pretty much for everyday life.
If I need to clean my apartment I tell myself that I just need to start picking up a few things and that will build my confidence to where I can take on the whole chore. At the start of the week in the gym I tell myself that I need to work extra hard the first couple of days and that will build the momentum that will carry me through the rest of the week. When I drive long distances I divide the mileage total by four and keep track of what quarter I am in (when I get to the “fourth quarter” I turn up the music really loud and prep myself for a strong finish). Whenever I put something together I look at the directions and think to myself “just follow the game plan.” Whenever I am presented with any type of task where other people are either watching or evaluating me I tell myself to focus and thrive under pressure.
The above examples aren’t jokes. I honestly think this way. My life is constructed under one big sports metaphor and I don’t think that is a bad thing. Athletics brings about a very methodical and rational way of thinking. My years as an athlete combined with my current career in sports has engrained this mindset into every aspect of my life and I know it has helped me much more than it has hindered me. I just always gotta keep my head in the game! Don’t Blink.