19 Feb Dedication
On Sunday 7 February, one of the biggest annual sporting events went ahead in the USA despite Covid and all its related challenges. It’s one of the most watched sporting events in the world, and the fact it went ahead with a live audience was a major feat.
The 2020 American Football season was held with no cancellations, and 25,000 people attended the showpiece event separated into bubbles by cardboard cutouts! This was partly achieved by strict protocols and regular testing of all players and staff but just goes to show what can be achieved when there is the incentive and finances to do something.
I’m not here to comment on the merits of the game of American Football. Whether you’re a fan or not of the complicated, stop start game, you have to admit that the achievements of a certain Mr Brady are incredible. If you’ve ever watched or read about the game, you’ll know what I’m talking about, but in case you haven’t, Tom Brady is the quarterback for the 2020 season’s winning team. What’s remarkable about him is the fact that at the age of 43, he’s not only still playing but is doing so at such a high level.
He has now won more Championships personally than any other team and has proved that he can do it in a different set up rather than simply relying on the years of success he had with his first team where he spent 20 seasons. He has most of the quarterback records that US sports journalists can create and took his new team to the summit in one season with no training camp and a limited preseason due to Covid restrictions.
The interesting thing though is not his success, but how he still manages to do it. Obviously, he’s extremely dedicated to the sport – he could have retired years ago and wouldn’t have had to worry about money. So, what does he do to keep being the best? (Or does he have a secret fountain of youth?!)
A few of the reported highlights include the fact that he goes to bed at 8.30 pm and gets up at 5.30 am every day. His daily schedule is mapped out and includes family time, strengthening and conditioning, reviewing game footage (study), team practice or workouts, pliability sessions, strategy meetings and charity work. He apparently, turns off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
It’s also been reported he has a strict diet that doesn’t include caffeine (I couldn’t give this up!), white flour, white sugar, dairy products or anything with gluten. He avoids tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and mushrooms as these could cause inflammation. Everything has to be organic, and each day he drinks “a couple of hundred ounces” of water, usually enhanced with electrolytes.
This all adds up to a man who is determined to continue doing what he loves and doing it at the highest level. Whether you like American Football or Brady himself (he does divide opinion) no one can deny that he’s totally focused and dedicated.
The way he lives isn’t something that most of us can do in our lives, partly because our sporting days are behind us but also because we don’t earn millions of dollars a year! But there are some lessons we can take from the likes of Brady and in particular teach these to younger generations. One that appears obvious, but might not be to everyone, is that if you want to achieve something or be one of the best, you need to put in the work. Doing this will inevitably involve sacrifices, usually in terms of time to do other things you enjoy. As Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying:
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
This advice doesn’t only apply to work related achievements. The same extra time or dedication could be applied to a hobby or just making the time to spend with friends or family (via Zoom until we’re allowed to meet in person again). We can’t all be a Tom Brady, but we can choose to be more dedicated or put in that bit extra work to achieve our goals. My kids learnt this lesson when trying to get into splits for their dance classes, extra stretching work outside classes eventually paid off.
Whatever we’re trying to do might mean some sacrifices, but at least we don’t need to go to bed at 8.30 pm and eat such a strict diet!
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