Former NFL pro-bowler Marshawn Lynch made TMZ recently for yelling at an 11-year-old at his football camp to “get the f-ck out of my drill.” Apparently the young man began to cry, which made his mother upset with Lynch. In a rare moment of honesty, Lynch explained to the woman why allowing the young man to participate lazily could compromise the work ethic of the entire group.
“When I tell a kid to do something and they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, then there is consequences,” he told a mother while another person videotaped. “Like pushups, like running laps, like sit-ups, like tellin’ ‘em to get out of my drill if they’re not participating”— at which a female voice interjects repeatedly, “Get the f-ck out of my drill?” then Lynch finally repeats, calmly, “‘Get the f-ck out of my drill’ or whatever it takes to get my drill. Because there’s one kid, but there’s also 100 more kids out there.”
Almost certainly their kids have heard the f-word before, so it seems these moms were objecting to its use during public shaming of their kids’ lack of effort on-field. The young man’s mother would have been right for being upset had Lynch’s actions not taken place on a football field. Yet Lynch’s approach can teach a valuable lesson to these kids about the true nature of competition.
Lynch has a lot to teach kids who want to reach for the stars in football. In the context of football, you don’t get more accomplished than Lynch. He is a Super Bowl champion with a Hall of Fame resume.
What makes Lynch a player of legendary status is also the persona around his game. He is famous for an aversion to media due to the truth teller’s dilemma. Lynch comes from a “Tell it like it is” background, and that doesn’t jibe with our current media culture.
Lynch wears his tough upbringing in Oakland on his sleeve, and to typecast him based on his brash demeanor is simply weak minded. Lynch has worked hard to get where he is in life, and for him not to carry that with him while volunteering to teach young men the game he loves would be a great disservice to them.
Learning not to be lazy is a hard lesson, especially in our culture of distraction. It was particularly difficult for me to leave the comforts of the couch and Playstation when I started playing football. My first attempt was a complete failure. Despite my father’s passion for the game, I didn’t have an interest.
Most of my teammates and coaches were willing to let me off the hook. In the three months I half showed up, only one person had the gall to tell me about myself. An older player couldn’t stand to see me being so lazy while he was working so hard. At the time, his words seemed harsh, but I wouldn’t have been a starter on my high school varsity team had he bit his tongue.
That young man is directly responsible for contributing to the man I am today. I hope Lynch’s commentary can provide the same for the young man he kicked off the field.
If this young man and his mom couldn’t take competitive pressure applied by a world-class athlete they certainly knew would be at the football camp they signed up for, they should get off the field. We do not need to change the culture of sports to fit the people who aren’t cut out for high-level competition. Doing so waters down the benefits for everyone else.
This is especially important for young men. We are not born with our mettle; it has to be earned. We are all weak to begin with and made strong through life. This lost on many, but a mark of success will always be with those who work hard.
The quality of a society can be measured by the spiritual reward it associates with toil. Our greatest sin is not that we allow children as young as three to be labeled as transgendered but that we place them in bubble wrap. What we are left with is a world of spoiled adults who cannot handle dissent.
Let Mario Lopez have his opinion; it hurts no one. Let Marshawn Lynch teach young men the path to the greatness he has achieved, which includes far more pain than hearing a sadly now-common swear word. We must not lose the virtue of understanding that nothing of worth comes easy.