Calli’s Corner: A lesson from the quarterback

by Calli Newberry

I watch a football game a little differently now. 

Instead of being in a stadium as a social event with great popcorn, cheering whenever my team scores or earns a first down, I stand on the sidelines rooting for whatever play is going to make the best story. I focus on the game more now, although I still usually end up with a bag of popcorn in hand, and I try to learn how the players line themselves up to organize a scoring play.

I might be a sportswriter, but I’m still learning a lot, especially about football. Fake handoffs still fool me every time and it’s usually not until the player with the ball bursts through a tackle that I realize the ball wasn’t where I thought it was. 

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In the last two games I’ve watched, I noticed something that’s probably quite obvious, but I didn’t fully realize it until then: The quarterback is very important. 

I know, you’re probably wondering why I get to even write about football at this point. But hear me out, there’s a bigger picture in mind.

On the quarterback’s command, a play begins, and if he feels the play should be changed at the line of scrimmage, he can call the audible. But he not only gets the play in motion, he also controls how it plays out. In a matter of seconds, he has to locate receivers or running backs and get the ball in their hands. And he’s doing this while scrambling around in heavy equipment and being attacked by the opposing team. 

If he can’t give the ball away, he’s probably going to try to run it himself. Usually it ends in a decent run to the sideline for a few yards gained, or a tackle by two or three guys in the wrong-colored jerseys. But sometimes, if he’s able to break the tackle, he gains a lot of yards, and loses a lot of breath. Regardless, he’s either got to recover from a tackle or a sprint real quick before getting his team back on the line to start all over again. 

This is a lot like life. You either take a pounding or you make progress, but either way, you usually end up a little tired. And after a while, you become a little exhausted, and maybe a little sore, but you’ve still got to get back to the line to make another play. 

We are the quarterbacks of our own lives. It’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do and we’ve got to be the ones to make it happen. 

Even the best teams with the best offenses will have to line up against some really good defenses who will cover all the options, and the quarterback is left to scramble. At that point, it’s up to him to make the play. 

We might have the best plans or the greatest strategies for how things are going to work out, but there are always going to be obstacles to overcome. You might be a student trying to get an academic scholarship but there is that one subject you just can’t quite master and it hinders your GPA. Or maybe you’re a recent college grad trying to get a job that actually pertains to your major, but you just can’t catch a break. 

I just want to encourage you to not give up. I know it can be difficult and tiring, but ask your offense for a little help, or maybe you need to call an audible. Even in a fourth-and-10 situation, do whatever it takes to at least get the next first down before you call it quits, because once you get there, you’ve got four more tries. 

You’re the quarterback, you’re in control. It’s up to you to make the play. 

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