6 Minutes, 50 Years

Can I get a “Roll Tide!”

When I was growing up in northern Alabama, the legendary Coach Bear Bryant was leading the Crimson Tide to championship after championship. (I eventually had to entirely forsake watching SEC football in the mid-1990’s because, well, the Tide wasn’t rolling like it used to and every loss turned me grumpy for days.) He was said to be such a good coach that he could switch teams and still beat his opponent with either team because he made more of a difference for victory than did the players themselves.

Bear’s speech to his Alabama football team before a 1974 game included some of coaching’s greatest words: “Most of you will live another fifty years or more. I hope it’s seventy, but if it’s fifty that’s still a good life, and what happens today you’ll have to live with the rest of the way. You can’t get it back if you don’t win. It’s sixty minutes and over. The losers are the ones who say, ‘Oh I wish I could play it again.’ You can’t play it again.

Well, you’re not really going to have to play sixty minutes. None of you. The longest play in a game is six and a half seconds. The shortest play is less than two seconds. That’s barely a wink of the eye. You’ll average five seconds a play. Five seconds of total effort, going all out, giving a hundred percent. You oughta be able to hold your hand in a fire that long…

Read the rest of Bear Bryant’s speech here. It’s worth the time.

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