You’re on the clock

A tale of two cities. A tale of two teams. A tale of two roads.

Whatever you want to call it, the end result is the same. One decision process takes you one way, and another process takes you another.

As I, among the millions upon millions of NFL fans watched the sport’s biggest game of the year Sunday, I couldn’t help but reflect back just a couple of years ago.

I am a Cleveland Browns fan. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment apparently, and probably why I offset my miserable sports winter with supporting the Yankees during baseball season. But nevertheless, I am a Browns fan win or lose, and lose, and lose some more.

Sunday night, I was one-hundred percent rooting for Tom Brady. Not necessarily the Patriots, but more just Brady. Of course, being a Browns fan, this in the only way I can enjoy any sort of success over the Pittsburgh Steelers fans. But perhaps I was against Philadelphia for another reason.

Two years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns were in relatively the position. Both needed a head coach, quarterback, and identity. Neither had won a Super Bowl (The Browns haven’t ever even gone). And most of all, both teams’ fanbase were some of the most dedicated in the NFL.

The Eagles hired former Browns’ quarterback Doug Pederson (2000) to take over as their head coach, while the Browns hired former Bengals Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson to take the helm in Cleveland. The Browns would then go on to trade away the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Eagles.

What came of this was the Eagles drafting quarterback Carson Wentz, and winning a Super Bowl just two years later, while the Browns are a whopping 1-31 over the same two seasons.

Now, I am using this example for a larger purpose, well beyond the scope of football.

It is a very visible and mildly comical way to view how our decisions today will have dramatic effects on our lives down the road, and that realistically, making the right decisions is not an overly complicated process.

The Browns in this case, tried to implement a total Analytics approach, which is what Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics did in the early 2000s. However, this was football. Essentially, the Browns abandoned all of the games natural instincts in an attempt to outsmart the game. And it failed, miserably.

Ask yourself, how many times have you known how to handle a situation but because of desperation, ego, pride, or emotion, took a completely foreign and untested approach? We have all done it to some degree. But while we are Cleveland-ing ourselves, someone who was once on equal footing took the Eagles’ approach. Kept their composure, knew they didn’t need to change the formula that creates success but just simply add what variables they could and do so wisely.

Everyone has a friend from high school that was essentially the same as them. Same income level, roughly the same interests, extracurriculars, intelligence, and all around equal ground when graduation came around. But now, five, ten, twenty years later, you see that they are a huge success in areas that you have failed repeatedly. It can be frustrating and difficult to understand. Often times it doesn’t take too long before we come to realize how far ahead our once equals are, that we forget just where we started to lose ground.

And just to note, by success, I don’t necessarily mean income. Success in love, family, or life in general.

Nevertheless, whatever definition you use for success, you may be feeling as if you got the raw end of the deal. As if someone somewhere held you back, whereas your classmate or friend was excelled forward. Perhaps sometimes this is the case, but the reality is, most of our pitfalls in life are caused by ourselves.

We are the ones that choose our priorities in life when we graduate. We decide whether we want to work fulltime, enter into the armed services, or seek further education. Neither of the three are the wrong path in life, but that also doesn’t mean all three are the right path either.

Like the Browns, who were desperately trying, or at least claiming, that they were planning for the future a few years down the road, you may have said something similar to yourself.

“I’ll do this until I’m…”

Or, “I’m still young. I have plenty of time.”

Well, the Browns endured two years of watching 31 other teams be better them, thinking they still had time. The truth of it is, the fans literally had a parade to mock the failure of the organization after the 0-16 2017 season.

Obviously, no one is having a parade when you fail, but the fact remains the same, the clock is ticking. Whether you’re a senior in high school now, or have been graduated for decades, time remains the same. It never stops. It never slows. It always moves forward.

And it is time I move forward. Instead of rooting against the Eagles Sunday, I should have been cheering for them. They did what Cleveland should have. They proved the basics will always remain the same, and when you try to outsmart what has always worked, you are susceptible to catastrophic failure. So when you see that friend who got out ahead of you, don’t hate them for their success, but instead, learn from them and appreciate their guidance.

Now that you have a relevant sport themed analogy to go off of, you’re on the clock…

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