The Way of Champions
Russell speaks much of his father. He is very fond of him and often speaks of lessons that his father taught him or encouraged him in. Speaking of his father he said, “He used to always tell me ‘Russ, why not you?’” With his dad’s encouragement he said that despite the potential disadvantage of being a short quarterback that he decided to play football to go against the odds. Russell has used his dad’s motivation to encourage his team to strive for excellence in the beginning of the season by incorporating his dad’s saying “Why not you Russ?” to “Why not us?” in regards to making it to the Super Bowl.
Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; And the glory of children are their fathers.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
With the Seahawks you’ll often hear of the 12’s or the 12th Man. There are only 11 players per team on the field at any given time. To have any more would be a penalty call. So what do they mean when they refer to the 12th Man? They are referring to the fans. Now the fans don’t practice all week, rough it out in a game of football, or even make any money for being the 12th man. In fact, it costs them money to go to a game! So what is all the hurrah about? Even though they are not playing on the field with the 11 players, they do make an impact on the game! After this week 3 game of the 2014 season, Russell Wilson in his career is now 17-1 in winning games at home (CenturyLink Field of Seattle) during the regular season. While playing on the road his record is only 9-8. Still a winning record, but not nearly as dominating as when he has home field advantage. I expect his win/loss ratio on the road to continue to improve, but the stats clearly show that the 12th man, the fans of Seattle, do make a huge impact motivationally for the Seahawks to win games. They cheer them on enchantingly when they have possession of the ball. It helps the tempo and rhythm of the home team. It helps the players feel an extra boost of adrenaline to push to succeed at winning the game.
Russell Wilson sets a high standard of excellence for himself. Some may think he goes overboard at times. But his standard of excellence is only going to help him, not hurt his reputation. The first time he did an interview at Wisconsin where he played college football, he asked to borrow a shirt with a collar from the equipment manager because he chooses to not do interviews in a T-shirt or shorts. This interview wasn’t even on camera I hear. Yet he set the standard higher for himself, even though it wasn’t necessary. Following an NFL game, he dresses in a suit and tie before giving any media sessions. Do all players do this? No. Is it necessary to? Not at all. Yet Russell Wilson, as a leader of the team of being the quarterback of the franchise, chooses to set the standard high for himself. The reputation of himself and his team matters to him.
Russell Wilson is regularly heard saying there’s “No time to sleep.” Obviously he gets some sleep and the bible says in Ecclesiastes 5:12 “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet” but even a little too much sleep will hinder success. Proverbs 24:33–34 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; And thy want as an armed man.” Russell means to emphasize the importance of preparation to be successful. He wakes before the sun rises. According to a report I read he gets to work at 5:30 AM, which is quite a bit earlier than when practice actually starts. He even prepared his mind the year before they won the Super Bowl, by attending the previous Super Bowl to get familiar with the atmosphere, the media hype, and the pressure that would come during such a big game. He was preparing himself mentally, as he really believed they had a chance of making it to the Super Bowl the next year. One of his common cliches is “the separation is in the preparation.” Preparation is vital to success.
Having a vision and goals is important for any NFL team. Last year Russell had some reminders of goals he had written in his locker. They were Consistent, Dominate, Clutch, Healthy. Consistent being number one. Russell struggled a little the latter fourth of the season of putting any elite statistics on the board. However one thing he was good at was having goals and being consistent. Even when he didn’t have his best offensive game, he was consistent at not making any costly mistakes. Seattle’s defense often picked up the slack when Russell wasn’t doing his best and they still won games because of a true teamwork environment and they had a vision to win. They had goals for themselves.
The Seahawk players put all their focus on the game they’re playing. Although the vision is to make it to the Super Bowl and win it, they are focused on the goal right in front of them: to win the next game. When others would talk about the playoffs prematurely, the players and coaches would often say “Our goal is simply to go 1 and 0.” Now every team basically says they have that mentality, but the Seahawks really successfully got this ingrained in all of the players. They had a focused intensity about them. They worked diligently at preparing for the game that was ahead of them, treating every game as a championship game. The following was written in another article online regarding Russell:
“How did Wilson arrive at Wisconsin in the middle of the summer, so far behind, then win the hearts of his new teammates so quickly that four weeks later he was named a team captain?” “He works harder than you," said Cole Hawthorne, one of his old receivers at Collegiate. "That's what got so many people following the bandwagon. It's almost like a challenge. You're trying to work harder than Russell."
The Seahawks have enjoyed their Super Bowl celebrations, but you don’t see them consumed with it now. Their motto is “What’s Next?” They are not focused on back then, they’re looking at what’s next. The Super Bowl was back then, this is now. We also need to make sure we are not consumed with the past, whether they are victories or failures. Reflect on the past, but don’t live in it. Focus on the now, that which is before you.
Making a Difference
Another trait that Russell embodies well is compassion. He visits the Seattle Children’s Hospital just about every Tuesday, his day off. At the close of last year I heard him say that he met over 1,500 kids in hospitals from around the country and that 82 percent of them did not have a father or mother. That demonstrates a sad condition our country is in with regards to the family unit. Russell shows compassion on many who often facing terminal illnesses. May we all strive to manifest compassion towards one another.
The Making of a Champion
Here is an excellent video about the attitude and mindset of several of the Seahawk players and coaches regarding the making of a champion. Do watch. It is inspirational and something you don’t commonly see in professional athletes. May Jesus Christ be preeminent in our life! To God be the glory!