Football

Uncomfortable

Major Applewhite at the Alamo Bowl in 2012. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Major Applewhite at the Alamo Bowl in 2012. (Will Gallagher/IT)

In the bowels of the Alamo Dome after Texas beat Oregon State in 2012, I listened to Major Applewhite talk about the resolve it took to win that game. He spoke of the preparation for the game and the Texas players having to manage being uncomfortable during preparation for the bowl game. He talked of the team being uncomfortable and how they now understood that being uncomfortable was the lead-in to success.

It has been that way for most teams and Texas is no different. UT was in a real uncomfortable spot in 2003 after Texas lost to a ‘bad’ Washington State team in the Holiday Bowl. It was uncomfortable for Mack Brown and Greg Davis. It was so uncomfortable that they coached scared to start the 2004 season and went into the Oklahoma game with a pitiful game plan with hopes to not get blown out. The result was a loss 12 – 0. That discomfort lead to the work and success and finally the relaxed reality of coaching great athletes that lead to a 12 – 1 finish in 2004 and the national championship in 2005.

Discomfort was present before the success in 2008 and 2009. It is the history, again, of not only Texas but teams in sports, business, families, and even churches.

Texas in 2014 is uncomfortable!

Henry James called America a Hotel Civilization based on comfort and convenience. We seek the place where the temperature is perfect and the lights are always on. When you are in a hotel, you don’t worry about turning off the TV, turning of the lights or music, or powering down your laptop.

Many of the high-end hotels now have that slot by the front door where nothing in the room works unless you slide a key in that slot.

When do you do your best work? When you are uncomfortable. If you are in a job and you are always comfortable, your computer goes off earlier. You miss more deadlines, you are late to more meetings, and you take your job for granted.

If you are comfortable in a relationship, you’re not thinking about sacrificing a little work time to go out on a date. The kids become more important than your spouse. Happy hour becomes more important than your spouse. You stop taking care of yourself. You start eating bad. You use ranch dressing like an oxygen canister.

The stock market is cruising along. DJIA was below 10,000 in 2010. Right now it’s just over 17,000. You’re stupid if you think a correction is not coming. Don’t get comfortable.

Be honest with yourself. Texas is a team and a program and, yes, even a fan base that was comfortable in recruiting, 10-win seasons, money flowing onto the 40 Acres, and tickets sold.

Now the players are uncomfortable, the fans are uncomfortable, and the administration is uncomfortable even though the administration is a little more comfortable because they are still printing money.

It is very uncomfortable right now but I’m going to let you in on a secret. They’re going to be just fine. Being uncomfortable but having work ethic, resolve, and good coaching always works.

Texas fans can only hope that OC Shawn Watson is right in what he told me in the postgame after BYU.

“College football is not like pro ball,” said Watson. “We can’t go to a waiver wire. We’ve got what we’ve got and we’ve got to work with it and we’ve got to find our way through it. There’s a great life lesson and there’s a championship down the road. We’ll look at it and think this had a lot to do with it.”

Or else all of this being uncomfortable will mean nothing.