NFL Pep Talk: Never Give Up
It was an experiment. I gave more NFL-related pep talks in 2009 than in previous semesters.
My topic was usually the NFL data and mathematics. My motto was: "Always do your homework, and never give up."
I wanted the students to become more adept at analyzing team and player performance.
They listened. They were motivated.
How do I know?
The dropout rate in the class was lower than usual. Thirty-one students showed up for the final exam. Only four dropped out of the class or gave up.
Never give up, I said, because a turnaround for victory can come in the last moments of an event or in an academic pursuit.
I told them about the importance of preparation, making reference to the NFL minicamps, while also showing them how to do simple mini-analysis to compare players and teams.
They loved it because most of them love football or other sports.
I also named the players I had crossed trails with, or who were near my community during my career: W. K. Hicks, Winston Hill, Warren Moon, Bob Hayes, Warren Wells, and Jermaine Fazande (former student).
When I taught at Davis High School in Houston, TX, Dr. Gustie Houston—Ken Houston's wife—was the math supervisor.
A Hall of Famer, Ken Houston, married to a professor with a doctorate was an example of a powerful couple who never gave up.
The young people's eyes sparkled when I told them that if one career is short-lived, then prepare for a second one or re-career. Jermaine Fazande is a perfect example for he returned to college after a two year stint in NFL football.
Finally, I told this generation of students about the miraculous plays during the last few seconds of a game that characterized the Oakland Raiders during the days of a powerful quartet of players: George Blanda, Fred Biletnikoff, Daryl Lamonica and Warren Wells.
The theme of all this: Never give up!
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