Acting Like a Captain

We entered into my favorite time of the year last week - college football season. I enjoy everything about college football - from the strategy to the pageantry and everything in between. When I'm not watching the WV Mountaineers play (in person or on TV), I am absorbing every good game I can find, and if the games are lopsided, I will settle for a good football movie. Very late on Sunday night, I found myself flipping channels and I happened upon the last 45 minutes of Rudy (plot synopsis). I couldn't pass up those last minutes because they include the scene that I consider the most pivotal in the movie. After having been promised by a former coach that he would dress one game in his senior season, Rudy faces the realization that his name is not on the roster to dress for the last game. Angry and discouraged, he decides to quit the team, but his teammates and a mentor will have none of that and we see Rudy back in practice for the last time.

Then, it happens. As the coach sits in his office preparing the final touches of the game plan, the captain of the team walks into his office and says, "I want Rudy to dress in my place, Coach. He deserves it." The coach, without even looking up from his papers, responds, "Don't be ridiculous, Georgia Tech is one of the top offensive teams in the country. You are an All-American and our Captain, act like it!" As the player begins laying his jersey down on the desk, he simply replies, "I believe I am."

As leaders, we are the captains of our teams. Being a captain gives us many responsibilities, but it also grants us privileges (or rights). I love that scene in Rudy because it's ultimately about sacrificing rights - in that case, the right to be one of the 60 men who would dress and the right to lead the team onto the field in his last game. I often hear frustrated leaders say, "My guys just don't understand the sacrifice it takes to make this business successful" or "My team just won't do what it takes to get the job done." When I hear those words, I wonder when was the last time the leader made a sacrifice for the business or the last time the leader truly did what it takes to get the job done.

Being a captain is much more than wearing a "C" on a jersey, standing in the spotlight at the coin toss, and calling heads. It's a complicated role that may require a person to give up his jersey to a teammate and allow someone else to lead the team onto the field.

How are you doing in your role as a captain? Becky

P.S. I would love for you to comment on this post and tell me about your favorite sports movies.