The Winning Play

In my junior year at college, I was elected coach of my fraternity’s football team. My first and most important decision was to appoint our quarterback (QB), the player (in American football) who calls the plays and organizes the offensive. I wanted a QB who would listen to my advice and who was respected by the other players, and of course, he also needed to be able to pass the ball, run, and be a good all-round athlete.

There was quite a bit of pressure on me from my fraternity. Most thought Levy should be QB. He was a talented athlete, very agile, fast, and had the strongest arm. Besides that, he was a senior, which some felt should give him precedence over the other candidates. O’Neil was another possibility, a junior but a great athlete, tall, strong, and another great throwing arm. However, both Levy and O’Neil had big mouths and tended to offend others, whereas we needed our quarterback to be someone who would bring unity to the team.

I ended up choosing Terry, a quieter young man who was also a good athlete, but not as obviously talented as Levy or O’Neil were. From my point of view, it was not really a difficult decision to make, but I did get some criticism from the other players’ supporters.

In the end, though, we had a fantastic run. During our two undefeated years, I used Levy as halfback who often ran with the ball and O’Neil as fullback. Both of them got opportunities to put their throwing skills to use, and many of our players were elected Inter-fraternity League All-Stars.

What I learned from my experience as football coach was that the showy, loud-mouthed personalities are not necessarily the best for leading a team. Even a quieter player like Terry, working in cooperation with his coach, could do an excellent job and promote unity and teamwork, which is just what a team needs to win.