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Life lessons learned from Football and buying a Boston condo

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  This  familiar quotation, wrongly attributed to legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, was first spoken by UCLA 50s football coach Henry Russel Sanders. Over the years, it has become a rallying cry to motivate players before the “big” game.

While  this may be okay in the National Football League where players are earning millions of dollars to win, it sends the wrong message down the line from college sports to Little League and Pop Warner.

Winning is always great and no one thinks that there is anything wrong with the desire to win. But when coaches or players get penalized for not winning, it is time to take a closer look at the place of sports in education.

The poster child for this concern has to be Steve Addazio, the recently fired football coach for the Boston College Eagles. In 7 years at Boston College, Addazio has had 5 winning seasons, 6 post season bowl appearances. In spite of a final win over Pittsburgh, making them bowl eligible once again this season, Addazio was let go one day after his final victory. BC Athletic Director Martin Jarmond was very clear that he hungered for a top 25 national ranking which eluded the outgoing coach.

True to what a coach should be at the collegiate level, Addazio was eloquent in  his  self assessment of his BC tenure. “I care about being with our guys. That’s  the most important  thing to me. That’s why I got in this. … I am a teacher, that’s what I am. We  learned  some  great life lessons and we learned how to overcome unbelievable adversity. When they walk out of this program, when they walk out of this university, they are going to be a little better quipped to know what loyalty and faithfulness mean and to understand what it means to love your teammate, love your family, love your wife.” (Boston Globe 12.1.19)

Back in the late 90s, St. Mary’s High School in Lynn had a football team that suffered three winless seasons in a row. Father Paul had a winning soccer team but not enough student athletes for two fall sports. Father Paul Head of School at the time, told the young men how proud I was of their efforts. In early November, it was nothing less than heroic for those young men to come to practice faithfully, day after day, knowing that they were facing strong teams and probable losses in their remaining games. That year, these students learned more about character, perseverance, teamwork and loyalty than the winningest high school teams in Ma. played their heart out 

Everyone loves to win but in every competition, one team inevitably loses. It is easy to win and celebrate victories. But life is not always filled with wins. And this is why winning should not be the most important thing in high school sports and at most colleges. Maybe Division I College competition is different because of scholarships, TV contracts and alumni expectations. But beyond the “big business” of Division I, winning should not be the only thing that counts. Character development and life lessons are far more important than a check mark in the W column.

Even more so is this true when children are competing at the ages of 6 and up. Having fun, making new friends, and working as a team need to be the goals of athletic programs for all kids. Life is naturally filled with competition and does not need to be artificially cultivated in young people who are only beginning to learn about the inequalities of the human condition. Shouting at coaches, impugning the integrity of officials and screaming at players on the field or on the ice come out of the mentality that losing is to be avoided at all costs. Young minds need great role models who know that sports are games and, in the order of priorities, that games are not of ultimate importance.

It’s fun to watch our New England Patriots and its their job for which they are highly paid. At almost every other level, however, games should be about entertainment that doesn’t depend on who finally wins. Children have a right to grow up slowly and not feel unreasonable pressure from frustrated parents and coaches. Addazio has it right. It needs to be all about the kids.

I know this is a Boston Real Estate website, and I may have gone off target here. But here’s another important lesson. In life you need to make some sacrifices in life for the better good. One example, is a young couple I’m working with that desperately want to buy a Boston condo, but are having trouble saving up for a downpayment.

Upon reviewing their finances we noticed that they eat out every night and go on exotic vacations. If they were to cut those luxury items in half or altogether they can in a short period of time be able to afford a Beacon Hill or Midtown condo for sale

Bottom Line

Set a goal to buy a Boston condo in 2020 and more importantly write up a plan and what sacrifices are you willing to make to accomplish your goal.



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