What is the Long Game?

Memorial Stadium in Lincoln NE at dusk

Not that I’m counting (that would be against my nature), but I had a few “firsts” yesterday. I went to a season-opener for Nebraska Cornhusker football. Yes, I went to the Nebraska vs. Oregon game last year, but THIS was the season opener (okay, yawn!, against Arkansas State!). It was the first time I’ve had season tickets outside the ACC. Okay, the ONLY season tickets I’ve ever had were to Clemson (my alma mater). And it was the first time I took Uber to the game.

The good news is that I have season tickets to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The good news is that I only live 15 minutes from the stadium. The good news is that I love college football. The good news is that my wife is an even bigger fan than me. So, as you can see, it’s all good! Of course, there’s always another side. Here it is.

The game was at 7pm so we thought we’d head down around 4pm, meet up with some friends and tailgate. You know, grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, drinks and laughs. Well, about 2:30pm, I checked Uber and rides were upwards of $60! Did I tell you I live 4 miles away from the stadium?

So, my wife and I jumped in the car, drove to “the office” about 1 mile from the stadium and took an Uber over for $8. Reasonable! We ran into some friends, watched another game on a JumboTron (Michigan vs. Florida), ate a late lunch (or early dinner, not sure which) and got to the game just in time to see the band walk onto the field.

The game was so-so, meh really. Neither the offense or the defense was impressive. In the end, the Huskers won the game! Which, of course, was great! In the end, the team put a “W” in the win/loss column and moved on. Next week, they play Oregon. Away. Tougher venue. Tougher opponent. But who knows, perhaps they got their early season jitters out of the way. I hope so. We have season tickets!!!

Earlier in the day, my wife and I watched a few games. We’re fans. Fans of college football. And fans of the Clemson Tigers, my alma mater and the school at which my wife spent a summer semester taking classes and living with my sister. So, although she’s not officially an alum, she is more than a casual fan! An interesting side note is that she lived with my entire family at various intervals BEFORE we got married. Perhaps that’s why we’ve been married 30+ years! She checked me out thoroughly beforehand!

We got downtown around 3pm, hung out for a few hours, watched the game until half-time and then left – to beat the crowds and traffic. We wanted to get up and go to church early Sunday morning and chose to get home at 9:30pm instead of 1:30am. We’re experienced! And did I mention it was Arkansas State? Later, when Nebraska plays the big boys like Wisconsin and Ohio State, we’ll stay to the bitter end, regardless of the outcome.

So, we’re college football fans and we have season tickets. What does that mean? It means we watched the game. We understand football. We understand offense and defense. We understand and recognize good teams, good athletes, and good play-calling. We’re great “Monday morning quarterbacks” if you will.

And he’s what we saw. A team that won, barely. An offense and defense that did “just” enough. A stadium full of fans (sold out since 1962!) that wanted more but was willing to settle for a win. Did I mention it was the season opener?

Yes, the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers won their season opener against Arkansas State. And I was thrilled. But it made me ask, “What is their long game?” Do they want to have a winning season? Win the conference? Beat Ohio State? What is their long game?

Ask yourself the same question. What are you trying to do? Finish college? Get married? Obtain the next promotion? Get rich? What is YOUR long game? There are two critical pieces to consider when asking this question. When self-reflecting. What is your long game? And how are you doing?

Do you want to be the President of the United States? The world’s best mom? The best sales executive in North American? The most influential military officer within your country? The richest woman? The highest donor? The best husband? Wife? Father? Mother? Daughter? Son? Boss? Worker? Etc. Etc. What is YOUR long game and how are you doing?

My alma maters are Clemson, Tennessee, and Auburn. I pull for them because I’m a graduate. I attend Nebraska Cornhuskers games because I live in Lincoln, Nebraska and I always pull for the local team. My self-worth and identity are not tied to the win-loss records of my teams. After all, they’re sports. It’s not life and death. But I still root hard and I’m still pulling for the Cornhuskers. And while I may not fully understand their long game, I understand mine. I know what my goals are, where I’m headed, what my priorities are, and what my rewards will be. Do you?

Have a great week and remember to think about the “long game.” Where are you headed? And why? Is your destination where you truly want to go? If yes, awesome! If not, it’s not too late to change. And, PS, how are you doing?

is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.

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