In life as in sports, it's how you play the game that matters
You don't have to be a star athlete to take away valuable lessons from the world of sports, whether it's learning how to get along with others, to never give up, or to be gracious in victory and defeat. In this companion volume to his New York Times bestseller, The Games Do Count, Brian Kilmeade reveals personal stories of the defining sports moments in the lives of athletes, CEOs, actors, politicians, and historical figures—and how what they learned on the field prepared them to handle life and overcome adversity with courage, dignity, and sportsmanship.
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About the Author
Cohost of cable television's number one morning show, Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade has reported on or provided live coverage of every major American sport over the last twenty years. He lives in Massapequa, New York, where he still coaches soccer.
Read an Excerpt
It's How You Play the Game
The Powerful Sports Moments That Taught Lasting Values to America's Finest
NFL Hall of Fame, 1989
4-time Super Bowl champion, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 1979, 1980
NFL MVP, 1978
NFL quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers, 19701983
This isn't nuclear physics, it's a game. How smart do you really have to be?
I was a child who needed to be outdoors, and I loved playing any game. My attraction to football was the fascination with throwing this little rubber football. I can't explain it other than to ask, Why do people sing? Why do people dance? Why do people show horses? When I was introduced to a football, it just consumed me. I was determined to make that thing spiral. I didn't know how to do it, but I kept trying. On top of that, every Sunday I watched football with my dad, and I just had to throw the ball like the guys on TV did.
Get a Plan
How did I finally learn to throw? Well, in one word, practice. I was living in Iowa and my dad had this huge blanket. I would lay it on this snowbank and throw the ball into the blanket, and the snowbank would absorb the shock and the ball would roll back down.
And then, in the words of Jim Lampley after George Foreman KO'd Michael Moorer, "It happened!"
One day, I threw it and it spiraled. To make sure I really had it figured out and that it wasn't just a fluke, I did it a few more times until I was convinced. I remember running into the house and hollering to my mother and asking her to come outsideand watch this. She knew I was serious, so she came out and sure enough, I did it again. She knew I thought it was a special moment, and that was good enough for her. I haven't forgotten it, but this is the first time I ever told that story. Here I was, nine years old, and it was the first thing I did well.
Most Enjoyable Time
If I had only played college ball and never played a down in pro football, I would have been okay with that. Those years were the most fun because we were free. I made grades, played football, had fun on campus, played in a new stadium. It was just great. You might think I liked college because I did well, but that wasn't the case. It was more about me just being a part of something. It was always about the team. If we lost and I played well, there was nothing good about that. The main reason I liked college was because I loved the coaches and they loved me back. In the pros my coach, Chuck Noll, was a tough love kind of guy, and I couldn't handle it early with the Steelers.
Successful in Sports Early, Successful in Life Late
I was always five years behind: five years behind in maturity level, five years behind in relationships, five years behind in college. I was clueless to anything that didn't involve me getting to the NFL. I never had good enough grades and I never had a Plan B. I just kept working hard to get what I wanted, with no fallback plan.
Now for Plan B
When I was done with pro football, I went right into broadcasting, doing color commentary with Vern Lundquist. The problem was, I didn't know what I was doing, and so I lost all my confidence.
Wait a minute! Mr. Four Super Bowl rings lost his confidence? Something doesn't compute here.
I ran into the same problem in the booth as I did in school, and that was remembering names. I couldn't match up faces and players, and I was all but overwhelmed. I know it when I study it, but I kind of lose the words when the light comes on. Even today, you don't see me getting into many specifics with players, because I don't know their numbers.
Pressure? Bring It On!
Nevertheless, I enjoyed broadcasting, and I learned to do well under pressure. I take a great event and then downsize it on my mind, so I can relax. I tried hypnotism. I even used buzzwords like relax, confidence, and concentrate. Eventually, I learned to release all that energy in a positive way.
Well, he wasn't known as the best clutch quarterback in history for nothing.
At one point, I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep in the locker room before games. But all this helps me perform in front of an audience. The first thing I do is to strip people of their titles, and then I strip the event of its importance. I convince myself that they're my friends and they're not better than me. And then, when I've stripped them of all that, they're just like me, so I'm out there talking to a bunch of me's. It settles me down and makes it easier to talk to them.
I lost all my money twice, I've been divorced three times, I've been called stupid and dumb. And that's just a starting point! I learn what I need to know to get comfortable at it, and the whole time I'm going full speed ahead. I hear the critics, but it doesn't stop me. It's never stopped me and it never will.
Just when you thought you knew him as a guy who had it all, you learn that no one has it all. Terry, especially, never had nor will he have it easy. The important thing is, he kept moving forward, kept learning, and kept working, and the end result is two distinct Hall of Fame careers, one as a player and now one as a broadcaster. Who knows, his next frontier might just be acting. I saw Failure to Launch and ol' Terry was great. Of course he'd be the last to acknowledge it, but he'd always be appreciative that you said it.It's How You Play the Game
The Powerful Sports Moments That Taught Lasting Values to America's Finest. Copyright © by Brian Kilmeade. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
What People are Saying About This
“Like having a library of motivational books by successful people…a book you’ll refer to the rest of your life.”
“Brian does a masterful job laying out the values that have made America great.”
“It’s How You Play the Game tells us what [athletes] were looking for when they started and what they found.”
“It’s How You Play the Game is a great read—insightful and well written.”
“This is essential reading for sports fans and sports parents everywhere.”
“Helps to understand the value of sports and how it prepares you to deal with the stresses of everyday life.”
“…Humanizes our icons in a way that makes their success seem achievable and their life lessons invaluable.”
“I’ve watched many great players, but this is the first book that shows me how they became great people. ”
“Really gets at the heart of what sports is all about. …Great read for anyone who ever played a sporyt.”
“This book taught me more about some of my favorite leaders than any profile of them I had ever read…”