For the Love by Earnest Byner
Earnest Byner wrote his sixth and final blog article for us here at Pro Interviews. Byner played professionally for thirteen years, and he has coached for fourteen years. He is currently the Jacksonville Jaguars’ running back coach. He loves the game hence why he has been around it for so long. He wrote this about the ‘little-boy’ feeling of the game that should never get away. This was written before the 2011 NFL season.
Bursting out of the back door and heading to the park, I’m about to play some football with my neighborhood friends. I just finished all my chores that Granny gave me and completed all of my home work. I burst out of the back door with Granny yelling, ‘Don’t slam it!’ We played our football while competing against each other but we also had fun in the mean time. We all played because we loved it.
There are many reasons to play the game, but the main one that we should never lose is the love for it. Many things can take that love away.
The ecstasy of winning is real. That energy associated with winning doesn’t last, but it is real. After victories, there is the sense that something else is out there. That feeling was with me even after our Super Bowl victory.
There is a feeling that you are better than your opponent after a victory. This is what I call, ‘Athletic Arrogance.’ This feeling has an addictive quality, but loving what you do and constantly trying to get better should be the foundation.
Don’t ever let that feeling get away from you. I tell the guys to remember the “little-boy” feeling of the game. Always feel like there is something else to learn and improve on.
It’s easy to get caught in the why me and the negatives of the game. Those can both be things that end up causing bad play and bad attitudes. Make the best of all situations that are presented to you.
Keep in mind what your initial purpose was and why you really play the game.