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Why the Kicker shouldn't be the fall guy

Last night I watched one of the craziest endings in a college football game that I have seen in a while. Tennessee was ranked #6 in the country and Alabama was ranked #3. Tennessee had lost 15 games straight to Alabama. With the game tied and 21 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Alabama had a chance to kick a 50 yard field goal to take the lead and almost inevitably win the game. But the kicker missed. Tennessee gets the ball in good field position based on the missed kick, has 2 quick completions, and then the Tennessee kicker (Chase McGrath) gets a chance to win the game with his kick in front of a home crowd. He kicks a wobbler that barely goes in and Tennessee wins. The crowd goes wild and storms the field. Then the announcer on TV, trying to explain the gravity of the impact of making that kick, says that Chase (the Tennessee kicker) will never have to pay for a meal again in the state of Tennessee. Unfortunately, on the flip side, the Alabama kicker (and most kickers in that situation) end up taking the fall for losing the game for that team. It's painful to watch knowing that this 20 something year old kid has to take the blame for his team's loss and live with it for the rest of his life. It works that way in life sometimes where we end up blaming one specific thing or event for a specific loss or setback; however, it's almost always a series of bad decisions or choices that put us in that situation that too often get overlooked.

I can almost guarantee that after watching all of the film of the game that Alabama coach Nick Saban is frustrated with dozens of people on his team (including himself) and is NOT placing all of the blame on his kicker. Tennessee had a receiver on offense with 6 receptions and 5 touchdowns that set a school record. There are multiple defenders on Alabama responsible for allowing that to happen. Over 15 penalties on Alabama and was one of the most they have ever been penalized in a game. I won't go into all of the details of Alabama's mistakes, but the point is, after 60 minutes of football, if a team puts their kicker in a situation that will win or lose the game, then the rest of the team has not done their job well enough. It's an unfair ask to put the weight of a game on one person when there are 50+ people on the team that are also contributing.

But sometimes in life, we do the same to ourselves. We blame our lack of fitness on one injury that is holding us back, the job loss because of that one person or one decision, the failed relationship on that one event or argument, our lack of money because of that one specific unexpected cost or expense, etc. However, we have to form the habit of being like a really good head coach by reviewing the film and really thinking back and figuring out all of the little things along the way where we could have made better choices or put forth more effort. When we can start to focus on the things that we can control, make adjustments with our habits to improve results, learn to manage our emotions in the moment so as not to dwell on mistakes, and tend to the other 'details' that add up, then we will know whether we win or lose won't matter because we did everything we possibly could to set ourselves up for success. And if for some chance we are fortunate enough to pull off the game winner, we will also know that it wasn't just that magical last moment that made it happen but all of the little things we did along the way that helped set us up for success. Additionally, there are always other people along the way that we will owe some credit as well.

I've included the last minute of the game in a quick video. My family had gone to get ice cream last night so I videotaped it in order to send them the last minute updates, but it's always so incredible to see these massive moments play out live in front of us.

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