What Happens in a REAL Mens’ Locker-Room
Recently one of my college football buddies invited me and a few other Sooner Football Alumni to attend a Thunder Basketball game. Of course I jumped at the chance to go to an NBA game but I really wanted to hang out with my old college buddies and reminisce about the good ole’ days.
We talked about jobs, wives, kids, and hobbies. All usual things you do when catching up with past friends. Then we began to tell the stories from back in the day, the old locker-room stories. Workout stories on how crazy our strength coach was and how we had it worse than the current players. Stories from practices, games, crazy coach stories.
We shared a lot of laughs remembering one of the greatest times of our lives. The time where we had to do life with a bunch of other guys. We bled together, sweat together, shared the heartache of defeat and the joy of victory together. These guys are and will be lifelong friends.
Going through the locker-room was a routine. I would get taped in the training room, get dressed for practice, meet with coaches where we watched film (and got our butts chewed), went to practice (and got our butts chewed again), changed afterwards and then went home. Throughout this process we would share about our day. We discussed workouts, practice and complained about our classes. We played pranks on each other and then shared these stories later on with one another.
Because you had lockers based on the positions you played, you were by these guys most of the time. They were the people you shared everything with. This created a real community, to help each player be the best they could be for the team.
Now imagine you pull up to the locker-room and get dressed in your truck. You go to the practice field, bypassing the locker-room altogether. You don’t attend meetings, so you are not quite sure what is going on at practice that day. You do the warm ups, stretches, go through the drills but you don’t really interact or even know your teammates that well. You might get coached a little but you don’t know your coach very well either. You might interact with your teammates, but there is no real connection. After practice you go back to your truck and go home.
Not knowing the team or the coaches leads to no emotional ties to the team. You don’t really care whether you win or lose. You probably won’t even play in the game or at least won’t play a significant role.
This isn’t any different than the “Average Attending Joe” at church he goes to church, goes through the motions. He might learn a little from the preacher. He might say hi to a guy he has met before. There is no real personal or spiritual growth from Joe. The problem is the absence of a real community.
Men are missing true community, teammates they can be real with, not shallow and superficial relationships. Men are missing what a coach really does. A coach corrects mistakes, pushes, builds up, molds and shapes you. A coach makes you do what you don’t want to do so you can be what you want to be.
A coach in life is a step ahead of you and can offer you wisdom and guidance. You may not need coaching all the time but it is a key relationship to being on a successful team. Teammates speak truth in your life and are committed to your best. Most days I learned more from my teammates watching and correcting me in football than I did from my coaches.
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; breaks out against sound judgment.” Proverbs 18:1
Going through life in isolation is a lonely road. You have no one to share your load with, no one to seek counsel from.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the company of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20.
We tend to conform to the behavior of the 5 people we hang out with most. Are you at the top of the list? Do your “friends” bring you down or send you down the wrong path. If so, find teammates that challenge you to be better.
[ctt tweet=”We tend to conform to the behavior of the 5 people we hang out with most. ~Bubba Burcham” coverup=”8TfPe”]
I have a group of 3 men I try to meet with once a week. We hunt, fish and go through bible studies together. These guys are my teammates. We pray for each other, share wins and losses together. These guys are my best friends and they challenge me to be better everyday. I have coaches I meet with from time to time that push me, lift me up, and challenge me to be the man, husband, and father God has called me to be.
Who is your coach and who are your teammates? Find some….get in the locker-room and be real.
Guest Author Bubba Burcham, NCMM Member, played College Football at the University of Oklahoma from 1996-2000. In 2000 he was a team captain when the Sooners won the BCS National Title. He has since coached college and high school football. Recently Bubba was the Head Coach at Coweta High School in OK. In 2008 we were 5A-4 District Champs and I was voted Coach of the Year for the District. In December of 2013 he stepped down as the Head Coach to pursue other forms of leadership to men. Check out more about Bubba Burcham here