I was recently shocked to hear of the passing of a dear friend from my High School Class. I moved my freshman year of high school – not the easiest time to transition. Peer groups were already established, and I was the new kid in town. Mike Rampy became one of my closest friends because of our common language – Soccer. Though neither of us had played before, we poured ourselves into it in such a way that it became part of the fiber of our being. In fact, both of us went on to coach soccer, pouring our love of the sport into the next generation.
In recent year’s we had lost touch, but always renewed our friendship at class reunions. He was one of those friends that gave you the ability to simply pick up where you left off – no guilt for the time in between.
At Mike’s funeral, they handed out a document that he used to give to the young men and women lucky enough to play on his teams. (Ironically, without ever communicating about the practice, I had the habit of doing the same thing.) I am honored to share his guiding principles with you.
Coach Mike’s Rules for Soccer and Rules for Life:
- 94 out of 100 high school players won’t play in college. If your work ethic matches the 94%, then you know what to expect!
- Champions always practice at game speed: Competing against their teammates to be the best. In games, they simply relax, execute, have fun, and win!
- A quiet team is a losing team. Communicate with each other, and be enthusiastic about it. Genuinely pull for your teammates. Energy is contagious!
- Don’t tell others why your coach should play you. Words are cheap. Rather, get to work, perform, and make it impossible for your coach not to play you!
- It’s about the team. When a group of players actually believe that, watch out…Amazing things are about to happen!
- Eyes are on you. Both when you play and how you respond when you don’t. Your words, attitude, and behavior mean everything. Choose them wisely.
You may ask why “Rules for Soccer…” is appearing in a leadership blog. That is a fair question. Because leadership is not a business practice – it is a life practice. Those who lead in life, will become influencers in all that they touch. I didn’t have the privilege of seeing how the lives of those Mike touched turned out. Two things are for sure: 1) No matter where they ended up, if they followed Coach Mike’s Rules for Soccer and Rules for Life, they are somewhere leading; and 2) Those who report to them are blessed by the influence of their one-time coach and my forever friend – Mike Rampy – Rest in Peace.
I challenge you to emulate Mike’s example. Go out and lead!