On August 26th, I drove over two hours in my 14-year old car with over 240,000 miles on it (yes, it’s a Honda) on my almost-yearly trek, to attend my beloved Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Field in Oxnard, CA. Except for the fans who stay at the Marriott Residence Inn next door, the rest of us park in a half dirt/half mud parking lot that really should only allow dune buggies and 4-wheelers.
We all pay $10.00 for a parking space and while we’re watching our Cowboys train, a big truck maneuvers through the “parking lot,” row by row, to water down the dirt and mud which sprays that same dirt and mud all over the cars and trucks. The water truck does not just give a mere sprinkling; it’s like the force escaping from a fire hydrant. But, it’s all part of the fan experience.
Anyway, for 9:15 a.m. practice, I stood at the 50-yard line, behind the fence that surrounds the entire field. Official-looking city volunteers with official-looking badges manage the crowd and exchange friendly banter. I was amidst hundreds of other fans, some highly annoying in their fan-like behavior. One fan screams over and over at the top of her lungs, “Miles, I love you Miles.” I overheard comments from those around her to the effect of, “maybe she’ll lose her voice…” Oh well, every fan exhibits their affection in their own personal style – she provided some laughs and entertainment along the way. For the most part, Cowboys fans are good-natured, friendly, non-violent fans.
As I watched the 3:15 p.m. practice drills from the end zone, I observed a few lessons we can all take to heart:
1. Do what you love. From the running backs to the wide receivers – from the defensive backs to special teams, the ‘Boys were having fun. They were just doing what they love and it showed. Of course, getting paid millions of dollars helps. You may currently have a “good enough” job; one that pays the bills, a ‘propeller’ to get you where you want to go – a career path you’ve always dreamed of, a unique vocation you’ve always wanted to try, a dream vacation destiny. Keep your dream fresh in your mind…practice taking at least one step a day in the direction of your dream. Post pictures of what your dream will do for you.
2. Fulfill YOUR position. I did not see Tony Romo trying to take Gerald Sensabaugh’s place. I did not see Tashard Choice trying to tell Bradie James how to do his job. I did not see Miles Austin impersonating a linebacker. They were each focused on what they do best in the position they’ve been assigned to. We need to do the same – focus our mental power and energy on what we do best. If we try to be all things to all people, we will fail miserably and end up mentally and physically exhausted in the process. Focus on your current position in life and thrive at it.
3. Aim for the trees. Since I was positioned at the fence in the end zone, which was considerably less crowded, I had a clear view of Mat McBriar kicking each ball through the goal posts, over the trees, and beyond the fence. On one particular kick, the ball flew up into the trees and rested on the highest branches possible. That’s exactly how we should aim our goals – for the tops of the trees!
Our efforts should never reflect a ‘just enough to get us by’ mentality. Aim high! Sometimes we think of ourselves as silly for having such lofty dreams but we were created to dream big. So, start right now and write down your high and lofty goals – the dreams you’d love to come true. Let your thoughts rest in the highest branches of your brain for awhile. If some come down, so be it…it’s never a waste of time to dream. So, aim for the trees and you’ll find yourself smiling more.