On the night of January 4th, 2006, I watched the most incredible athletic performance I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. I was a redshirted scout-team offensive lineman for the #2 team in the country. I had done all I could to prepare our first-team defense for what many considered to be the best college football team to ever play, the 2005 USC Trojans. You would have thought we were a 6-6 team they way ESPN talked about our matchup… Of all the talking heads I only know of 1 person that actually picked us to win the game, Lee Corso.
That night I watched our team play their hearts out. Never give up. And fight like they had a slugger’s chance the whole 60 minutes. Vince Young played the best game of football I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously. That game is what every Texas fan remembers… Who could forget such an extraordinary sight?!? If those same story lines were played out in a movie, no one would believe it could happen in real life.
But I’m writing this to tell you that what happened on the field that night is not what made an impact on an 18-year-old Chris Hall. It wasn’t the last second touchdown Vince Young scored or the celebration in the stadium after… What has stayed with me these 8 years were the words Coach Brown spoke to us in the the locker room:
“Don’t let this be the greatest thing that ever happened to you.”Coach Brown could have told us many things… Of course he congratulated us. Of course he was proud of us. He told us we were champions and that nobody could ever take that away from us. All those things were true. But he emphasized what was important. He knew the men in that locker room wouldn’t always be football players. So he told us to not let this be the best thing that ever happened to us. But to go on to be great fathers, great husbands, and great citizens.
Coaching football, in real sense, is not about winning games. It’s about investing into and shaping the character of young men.