Life Coaching: Intercepting the hike

The referee wouldn't budge, and his decision was irreversible. You've got to admire a guy who sticks to his guns even though the crowd is preparing him for the traditional tar and feathering ritual.

ben goldfarb 88 (photo credit: )
ben goldfarb 88
(photo credit: )
Contrary to popular belief, I don't think there is either covert or overt pressure placed on Texan students to participate in football. As a kid, I remember being offered a number of choices in school, such as joining offense, defense, or being the water boy. My coach, Bill Smith (not his real name), a former philosophy professor, was sensitive to my need to be on the debate team and become the team owner. So I was exempt from playing with the team and instead I was in charge of crowd control and ticket sales. During the championship football game in 6th grade, our side was 5 points behind with three minutes left in the game. We had just lost the ball to the opponents due to a fumble from our star player, an army brat named Binky (not a nickname). Binky was a motivated guy and was committed to saving face after his tragic mistake. To add to his determination to save the day, Binky knew that his father was pushing through state legislation to extend the death penalty to minors. The quarterback screamed out the signals, the center hiked the ball, and believe it not, Binky intercepted the hike and ran for a touchdown. The referee did not call "off sides" and gave us the touchdown, the game, and the championship. The opponent's fans were up in arms and foaming at the mouth. I knew for a fact that many of them had not had their shots, so our team took cover behind the benches. Bill Smith went on the field to have a little discussion with the opponent's coach. Bill was quoting Plato and Descartes, and their coach was quoting from slightly less intellectual sources, although some Latin words were thrown in for good measure. The referee wouldn't budge, and his decision was irreversible. You've got to admire a guy who sticks to his guns even though the crowd is preparing him for the traditional tar and feathering ritual. The other team was at peace with losing the game and came over to our side of the field to congratulate us. It was the opponent's coach and parents that didn't accept the decision and prompted our local police force to bring out their riot gear. To the best of my knowledge, no defensive player has ever intercepted a hike in the history of football. In fact, this may have been a one time event, never to be duplicated again. How did Binky do it? I think the answer lies in the nature of motivation. We generally move towards positive outcomes or run away from negative consequences. Binky's miraculous play was his attempt to move away from inevitable ridicule by his peers and the imminent punishment from his father. He was also moving towards the euphoria of winning the game, and perhaps convincing his parents to change his name before he turned 18. Before an impossible task is accomplished, it seems like science fiction. The day before Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine, the concept was out of the realm of comprehension. Today, polio vaccines are as common as injured referees on elementary school sports fields. We have to coax our inner Binky out of its shell if we want to make a real impact upon the world. We need to improve the quality of our self-talk that should be transmitting the message that if we try hard enough, we just might be able to turn the impossible into reality. While we are at it, it might also be advantageous to inject parents with some time-release valium before halftime. Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He is the founder and director of Paradigm Shift Communications, a personal and corporate coaching company. His book, "Double Feature: A Nostalgic Peek into the Future" will be published in the spring. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to [email protected] © Copyright 2007 by Ben Goldfarb