More than a game: Author Stephen M. R. Covey cites valuable lessons of life he learned playing football

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  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    June 20, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Uncle Rico should become a motivational speaker!

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    June 20, 2012 8:46 a.m.

    Having participated in high school football every word in this article had meaning. One of the greatest lessons in team sports is endurance and teamwork. The advances in medical knowledge and hydration and cross training have made things much better than thiry or forty years ago. Anything that requires physical, mental and coordination effort is going to help in many other parts of ones life. This was an excellent and helpful article.

  • Grouper Loveland, CO
    June 19, 2012 11:00 p.m.

    if he didn't have that last name, this would be another boring article about a high school athlete reliving past glory - wait, it still was. What was the point? Lots of great people out there who didn't have the luxury of having superstar dads. Why don't we profile some of them instead? Where much is given, much is required. We are all supposed to be fascinated with the guy who started with 10 talents, but meanwhile the ones who started with 2 or 3 are boring. I consider it the other way around. I'm bored with kids who grow up with everything and then expect us to worship them.

    June 19, 2012 10:41 a.m.

    2020 and JNA, like I said, I love amateur athletics, football being my absolute favorite. I played high school football, and considered finding a college that would have me on their team just so I could keep playing. The lessons I learned are still invaluable to me. However, I consider myself blessed to have grown up in a home with a mother who doesn't know how many yards are needed to gain a first down. Football was a conditional privilege, not an expectation. As a result, I'm funding myself in a great educational program, while my parents have flexibility to help when needed.

    Regarding concussions: treatment, diagnosis and prevention are better than long ago. But researchers and practitioners are just scratching the tip of the ice berg. I recently read a European medical journal's study of patients treated for mild traumatic brain injuries in the early 2000's showing significant differences in cognitive and behavioral brain function compared to individuals of similar origin, age and gender only 10 years later. As someone who has both been treated for mTBI and later depression and anxiety in the last 7 years, I have to agree that these are connected.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2012 9:35 a.m.

    Great article! Football is hard. I loved playing in High School and experienced all of the same things described in the article.

    The life lessons from playing football are still paying off. I learned how to do hard things.

    We have an epidemic of kids who want to quit when the going gets tough. I have never seen kids being coddled more than they are now. Parents hover over their kids. Why on earth do parents show up with lawn chairs for their kids football practices? Go home! let you kids learn to cope on their own. Unless the coach needs to be watched closely for being verbally abusive. But most parents are too scared to speak up even then. So, go home!

    Also, it is ok to not play football. There are plenty of other hard things they can be doing. Just make sure that kids are doing them. Turn off the TV and get outside and learn how to suffer! It will be good for you. Good for you parents too!

  • JNA Layton, UT
    June 19, 2012 8:25 a.m.

    This was a great article. Thanks Mr Covey for sharing your insights and what you learned. I wholeheartedly agree. I just laugh at those who are arguing with you about what football and team sports can do. I read and re-read the article and no where in the article did you say that everyone should play football, and money should be taken out of other areas of the school to pay for football, but there are those who have to take the fun out of everything. If you don't want to learn lifes lessons by playing football or team sports, then don't play them. Learn your lessons somewhere else, but don't discount what he learned by all the negative drivel. Me, my brothers, my nephews and my son have loved playing sports and can say that we learned the same lessons and skills that Mr Covey did.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    June 19, 2012 7:47 a.m.

    As a Provo Hiogh alum that grew up, played football, and went to school with the Covey's I can tell you that they were all good athletes so Stphen sells himself a little short when he say's he wasn't. And I agree with his message completely, there is a lot to be learned from team sports and in the days he played, and even with myself, his younger brothers and the kids our age, it was far different than it is now. Coaches did pretty much yell all of the time, they did grab you, shake you up, get in your face. It is just the way it was. None of us is worse for it.


    To this day almost no high school football programs have cuts, if you want to be on the team you can be just as long as you are willing to work. It doesn't mean you'll see much time on the field but you can be on the team. Now other sports like basketball and baseball do have cuts but football does not. In otherwords your assertion was wrong. You need to educate yourself more about it I suppose.

  • 2020 Herriman, UT
    June 19, 2012 7:34 a.m.

    WOW! The first two comments on the board are pretty interesting.

    There is no question that football can be a dangerous sport. Fortunately we have learned a lot about concussions and coaches and trainers at every level are doing a better job at teaching kids techniques that will help them avoid concussions. More importantly, they are better at taking care of athletes that have concussions.

    It is not high school sport's fault that there are parents with delusions of grandeur. Those same parents would probably make the same mistakes with whatever it is their kid is into: dance, drama, debate. You're talking about grown adults that have every right to make whatever mistakes they would like to.

    Not every football player learns the lessons that they should, but there are a lot more that do than don't! Does every kid that grows up in a good christian home end up a good christian? Football, other sports and just about every high school extracular activity teaches the same lessons that Covey explains and keeps kids out of trouble. I know kids that wouldn't have graduated if it wasn't for high school sports.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    June 19, 2012 5:42 a.m.

    Take off the pads, take off the helmets, and play away. Our heads have sensors to say "don't slam me into someone else's head". It is called pain. And no one's brains will get scrambled.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 18, 2012 10:36 p.m.

    So, does every football player learn 'life' lessons? And, what about anyone who was excluded from football, for it is very exclusive? It's pretty tough to justify supporting sports even at this level while it consumes so many scholastic resources. It's the elite jock club, not a teaching tool.

    June 18, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    Now let's have a series of articles on the impact on many other former high school and college athletes' brains from repetitive subconcussive impact. Or the financial impact their families take trying to earn their kids a full ride scholarship, spending several thousand dollars every year on special equipment, registering for camps, hiring personal coaches and trainers, and traveling to campuses for unofficial visits. Many parents end up paying more money than a good college's tuition for their high school student so they can "save" money by getting a full ride scholarship at a lower level college, and subsequently have their grades, degrees and internships suffer because of time commitments to keep their place on the team.

    I have to say I love amateur athletics as much as anyone, but let's have a little perspective; it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the future for these kids.