Lombardi: A Driving Force

Ever since the first recorded football game on Nov. 6, 1869, between teams from Rutgers and Princeton Universities, we have seen extraordinary coaches. Coaches like Knute Rockne, Nick Sabin, Bill Belichick, Curly Lambeau, “Sleepy” Jim Crowley and more have gone down in history. But there is one coach that trumps them all … Vince Lombardi.

Vince Lombardi grew up in a Catholic household as the eldest of five children. He was on his way to becoming a priest when he hit a crossroads. He had to choose between seminary and his football career, and needless to say, he chose football. Lombardi went to Fordham University where he was part of the “Seven Blocks of Granite,” the nickname of the offensive line. He then went on to teach and coach high school football. Eventually moving back to his alma mater, Fordham University, and he kept the train moving to gain better experiences for coaching.

Lombardi traveled to West Point to coach there for five seasons. This is where he started earning his reputation as a workaholic and the players feared him. Lombardi then moved on to coach for the New York Giants as an assistant coach. There he led the Giants to five consecutive winning years. This streak is what brought him to the Packers. It was there that Lombardi became the coach he is known as today. After spending nine years as the head coach and winning five nationals titles, two of which were the first two Super Bowls, he became general manager and eventually coached for the Washington Redskins. He passed away Sept. 3, 1970 from colon cancer.

Vince Lombardi is a man that can be looked up to by all: he never missed a day of work or Mass.  He was known as “The Pope” both because of his dedication to going to Mass but also his strictness. Lombardi had a dedication to the game and his faith uncontested by anyone. He knew what was important in his life: God, family, and football.

I think it is clear Lombardi is someone to look up to. He challenged his players not just to be better players, but also better men. Wherever we may be in life, we can still use him as a guide to help better our lives. It doesn’t matter whether we are a student just trying to get through class, a senior looking forward to their next big adventure after college, or a teacher who is dealing with all of the students’ antics. Vince Lombardi gives a person hope and a drive to become a better person.

Lombardi was a passionate man who spoke passionately. Here’s a few quotes:

“Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible. Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.”

“Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.”

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours — his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle —victorious.”

“Second place is meaningless. You can’t always be first, but you have to believe that you should been — that you were never beaten — that time just ran out on you.”

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Sean Whitley is a sports writer for The Lorian.

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