Years ago, I loved watching football with my late husband, Pete. It was hours of watching the game on the couch next to him that taught me two things: he was actually a brilliant strategist and being flexible is a great asset.
Many of you know that Pete was the model for Mac, a major character in Red Mojo Mama, so you can imagine that I had a ton of love and respect for the man. However, he wasn’t a “book smart” kind of guy; too bad, because with a college education he would probably have made a huge dent in the world.
We watched every single 49ers game we could together, and many other teams' games – the Cleveland Browns were another favorite – and even sat through an NFL draft one weekend. He explained the process of the draft and the strategy involved that day and I was amazed at my husband. His percentage of correct calls on who would be picked next and by what team was really high. I asked him how he knew what would happen. He told me that he paid attention to the stories in the paper, but it was mostly knowing the current composition of the NFL teams and where their weaknesses were. However, almost every pick he’d have to reassess the next pick because the field of available college football players had narrowed by the latest pick.
The first of his football skills I picked up on was the ability to know how a team should “adjust” their plays, or veer away from their playbook (for those of you that don’t know, a playbook is a collection of plays that are rehearsed repeatedly by a team and are identified so that they can be called in a huddle easily or even followed in sequence). He would very often be passionately expressing himself to the television (yelling at the coach), trying to magically tell him what he should do next. Many times the coach would do exactly as he said, rarely on that play, but one or two plays later. He was very seldom wrong on his call. When they “adjusted," as he put it, the team would almost always meet their objective.
Let me say here, that I’ve also watched football with other men over the years. There was a big difference between the others and Pete. They were usually shouting out frustration and very rarely actually giving the coach advice.
What Pete had that the others didn’t was the ability to see the big picture and realize that an adjustment needed to be made in order to be successful. He often said that even a great team could be defeated by strategy every day of the week.
While many people do have the ability to see the larger view of things, not many have the trait of flexibility that’s needed. Some people will “stay the course” right into an iceberg. As I move through life, I try to always be watching for inflexibility in myself. Regular reassessment is important and shifting to a new play when your playbook develops a flaw is critical.
I learned many things from my husband, a simple man with a simple sort of wisdom, and he continues to be a part of my life.
I would urge everyone to look over their own playbook. If it’s fine, then great! If not, think about changing it a bit.