Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow
It sounded like sweet music to our ears. “Stay tuned for the opening of the NFL Football Season.” With great anticipation we have waited, prayed, and worried about the future of professional and college football as we know it. At last, the sweet time has come. Why are we such fans from kindergarten to our retirements—this game is different than all others. Football is a microcosm of America! We knew it would come back. Not even COVID-19 could bring it to an end.
Physical fitness is a matter of health care and healthy futures for our children as they grow up into adulthood. Football teams and games start organizing in new neighborhoods as soon as they are built. Our children are taught the importance of strong bodies and good coordination. There are other sports that are important like basketball, lacrosse, track, volleyball, etc. But nothing drives up the adrenaline and emotions like football. National stars become role models and heroes to all.
So, when the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys kicked off the season this week, it sent chills through my body and gave me joy that had been missing over too many months.
What you learn in football is team work as well as team spirit. Those who rise above the groups will become leaders and will apply those leadership skills throughout all phases of life. It instills a drive that makes one want to have influence and help direct the team or group. You want to become the best student and the smartest in your school and gain the admiration of all those around you.
Football came into our lives via the local Boy’s Club (Oxnard, California). This was a place that young kids could learn all the sports such as boxing, basketball, baseball, etc. Boys’ clubs, YMCAs, etc., can instill that thirst for success in a youth’s life that will stay with him or her forever. Football played the role of a foundation for all sports.
Physical fitness brought confidence and leadership skills. You could walk with authority and speak with confidence. Charisma followed your presence wherever it went—from the promotion room to the board room— your destiny was set for maximum performance.
I remember leading military drills in the Army. It made me a winner—an Officer and a Gentleman with a future that took off the day I stepped on the grounds of Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. I was prepared thanks to the early days of Oxnard. Oh yes, the girls liked it too. That is how I won Kay. That is what we used to focus the direction of our two sons.
We built a winning attitude at Oxnard Union High School. We called it the school of pretty girls and showed them off to visiting teams (look, but do not touch). We also called it the town of beautiful landscapes. A lot of that attitude was built around our athletic activities and the winning attitudes that came with them. The best thing you could do if you wanted to impress someone was to put on your OHS Letterman Coat. It would create an aura around you.
Recruiters from some of the most prestigious corporations would visit the University of Wisconsin, and the first stop would be to see the football coach to make a referral list. The point we are trying to make is to follow the “blood lines,” history and tradition before selecting that person you are counting on to become a winner. It makes a difference!
If you look at families known for their leaders and winning, please remember it is not coincidental. It takes miles and miles of work, courage, fortitude, and determination. Those things are also taught in football. Let us give thanks to our Lord that our national game is returning, and the United States can continue to be a winner around the world repeatedly. Praise the Lord that this world has a nation known as America in it.
Harry C. Alford Jr. is the Co-Founder and President of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Kay DeBow is the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of the Chamber. www.nationalbcc.org email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.