Everything is new again. It’s definitely a learning curve to enter into a new locker room, start new relationships with the guys, and study a new playbook. Though a lot of coaching concepts are similar between different NFL teams, every coach, trainer, and coordinator has a different name for everything. And learning to run those plays with new teammates, who have unique abilities and ways of doing things, can be challenging, but it’s also really good.
I hate the feeling of starting over, not knowing what to do or when to do it. I know that later on in the season I will have a better grasp on the playbook but it’s a weird jump. It’s fun when you get to a place in football where it’s all second nature—when you are so in sync with the quarterback that it’s like speaking English. Now I’m at a point where it takes a lot of concentration and effort again, but I know that it’s part of being in the NFL. It’s a process and you need to be able to adapt quickly.
The tight end group has really been helpful to me, reminding me of tips and concepts that they are familiar with. And while a lot of them are younger than I am, they’ve been in the league for a while now and I am able to learn a lot from them. Coming into a new locker room this year, I don’t have the same leadership position that I had last year yet but I do know that there’s a certain amount of respect and leadership that people give me simply because of my experience and longevity in the league. As the season goes on, I think I’ll get the chance to be more of a leader as guys learn to trust me and talk with me.
While I’m with my teammates, I try my best to connect on subjects outside of football when the opportunities allow. For instance, one of the guys just experienced his grandmother passing away, which allowed me the opportunity to be there for him, encouraging him and letting him know that I am praying for him. I try to be intentional about sending text messages, emails, and calls to guys in the league to encourage them. Though I have a lot going on in my own life, I want to make the effort to be conscious of what’s important to other people. While most of my teammates are new to me, it doesn’t take long in football to develop relationships. Each practice I am able to grow closer to the guys who God has placed around me.
In this new season, God is teaching me to have a greater amount of grace for myself. While I still hold myself to a high standard, expecting excellence in my performance and attitude, I am becoming better at understanding and forgiving myself when I make a mistake on the field. I still want to strive for perfection, but I know I won’t always reach that. Part of this process is understanding that it’s not all in my own power. This lesson is applicable not just in football, but in every area of life. Whether God is leading me to a new town, a new job, a new community, or mission, He’ll always have the right supply for His call.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me.” —Psalm 28:7
It’s easy when we’re comfortable in life and able to do everything in our own power, but when God takes us out of that comfort zone, we’re then able to trust God more and see His power at work in and through our lives.
Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/benjaminwatson/
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