Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 27, 2018
Lessons from Vince Lombardi, and teamwork tips for your home team

Our family enjoyed watching the Super Bowl this year. Even though we were in various locations, we texted comments and emojis back and forth. Both teams were truly amazing, and I would have been happy for either team to win.

My incredible father was raised in New England, in Massachusetts, so I am partial to the Patriots by bloodline. But then, Philadelphia has fantastic historical value – plus, I root for any “underdog” in life. It’s all good.

I was especially touched when leaders of the Philly Flying Eagles were interviewed about earning their first-ever Super Bowl — and they publicly acknowledged their gratitude to God. Others expressed their love and appreciation for tremendous family support, and sincere thanks for all the effort from the team staff. I felt their sincerity. Everyone played a part in the achievement.

At the game’s conclusion, the winners eventually lined up as the enormous Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy was carried near the team, who reverently touched, and even kissed it.

“Hmmm, I’ve heard that name over the years,” I mused. “Probably some famous football guy.”

Now, after learning a bit more about coach Vince Lombardi’s record and philosophies, I know why he’s a legend in the National Football League. Lombardi had a great mindset to lead teams to numerous NFL victories. His wisdom has been quoted, much to the benefit of all athletes. But his insights don’t just help teams triumph on the ball field — they can benefit all of us in everyday life as well.

Lombardi once observed, “Football is like life — it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.”

His philosophy resonated with me and our journey with a daughter with complex special needs. His quote could be a new family motto or mission statement, or helpful for those raising teenagers, teaching students, coaching a team, or starting a business.

Some people say that team sports aren’t just for the fun, the love of the game, or even the good exercise — they also have deep roots of goodness. It’s about taking various people out of their comfort zone, deliberately working toward specific goals, persevering, troubleshooting, and hopefully coming together into one unified machine.

I think one of the most important aspects of any sport is respecting authority, such as the referees, coaches, and scorekeepers, and of course, abiding by the rules. For young children, team play reinforces taking turns, building self-restraint, and being a good sport when disappointed. I think being told, “You’re off the field. Go think about your attitude on the bench,” can be a good thing to calm down a little hot-head.

Good tools to help families walking along this bumpy journey of life, right?

Every family is a team of sorts. Quite often, we parents play the roles of coaches, referees, bus drivers, and cheerleaders all in one day. Here’s a few more thoughts about teamwork:

We need to teach our children basic home-skills to “play by the rules.” Reasonable family rules need be mutually agreed upon in advance, right? Such as, be kind, tell the truth, and respect your parents.

In football, the quarterback and a couple of receivers usually get the most recognition, but without faithful linemen defending them, there wouldn’t be much of a game. In most families, “playing favorites” can be perceived, that one person is more important, etc. Birth order certainly affects family dynamics, and sibling rivalry is real. Then, if your family’s team roster has a child with a disability or special needs, there can be some legitimate strategy required on life’s playing field.

Dedicated practice is basic to any team’s progress, so how does that equate in life? Perhaps it’s consistently doing the routine “boring” stuff, like coordinating schedules, doing household chores uncomplainingly, putting things away, cooking healthy meals, and getting enough sleep.

In football, you always protect your quarterback, and savvy teams adapt game plays when needing to safeguard a previously injured or key player. Same for families. Be loyal.

When I was a worn-out mother with four active daughters (one with multiple challenges), my father would kindly remind me, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Feeling brave when we’re bone-tired is a very real issue, so encourage your family to keep improving their daily health habits, and consider taking more “time outs” (also known as naps). Challenges always feel lighter in the morning.

Schools and colleges don’t have unlimited uniform and equipment budgets — nor do parents. Being financially frugal with clothing, vehicles, and belongings help meet the additional expenses required for disabled loved ones (such as hearing aids).

As they listen to parental guidance (life-coaches), children may be asked to sacrifice their own wishes to help siblings with special needs. For example, modified vacations with great wheelchair accessibility. It may not feel like fair play, but prioritization produces champions for all involved.

So there’s some “Special-Needs Strategies” with more insights in my “Instagram Playbook” at: hiddentreasuresofhealth. I love being your cheerleader. Let’s keep our eyes on the goal, and be ever-loyal to our home team!

Elayne Pearson, CAS, is a special-needs preparedness specialist, and teaches family resiliency. Send email to:

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