Junior’s lessons are larger than life
Full Contact Project Management
It isn’t often that a city receives a shock. Rarer still does it happen to a state. When it happens to an entire country, it is significant. However, it is incredibly rare when the reason comes from the world of sports.
On a Wednesday morning in early-May, my wife called out to me, “Junior Seau’s dead!”
Now, the death of anyone always is a concern. But, I live in Oceanside, as did Junior, and had the privilege of following his impact not only on football, but on a community and country. You didn’t have to love football to be a fan of this man.
Junior never offered excuses. He never failed to talk to the media, even in the locker room, following a devastating loss. He always accepted responsibility. He would make himself available to criticism and tough questions. And, yet, he was one of the comparatively few bright spots for the local team during its 50-plus years. And, for the one Super Bowl appearance the San Diego Chargers did make in 1994, Junior “quarterbacked” the defense.
Mostly, though, we’ve had a lot of “wait until next year” talk. But for 13 years, Junior made it more tolerable, even during worse-than-usual seasons. And we’ve had our share.
No one ever worked out harder, prepared longer, or focused more on the task at hand than did Junior. He would cram for his “test” on the field, up until the last few moments in the locker room, before every game. When guys got down, he’d lift them up. When the other team scored, he’d be exhorting his teammates, “Stay up!” He practically willed them to get better, try harder, run faster, jump higher. And, if a loss came, which it often did, he’d own up to it at the press conference.
Junior realized he was blessed with skills and abilities, surrounded by family, and supported by coaches, teachers and friends. He wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. His attitude was, “I’m a lucky guy who knows where I come from. I come from the streets.”
As contractors, we can relate to a guy like Junior. This business is tough. We get clobbered and blindsided. But Junior would get up and get back in the game. He played hurt. He inspired others, from teammates to fans.
In today’s economy, doesn’t it kind of feel like we are playing on only one good leg? One of the reasons Junior was so successful was that he loved the game. He once said, “Great players feel the game.” How about us? Do we feel our own game?
During one particularly dreadful season, with a losing streak underway, Junior rallied the team but would not take credit for it. With him, it was always a “team” thing, a “we” thing. He told a reporter, “We did what we had to do. Getting a win was key.”
Forget the season. Concentrate on one win, and the season might take care of itself.
You might expect that such a man would live aloof and out of contact with people. Not so. Junior often sat on the deck of his Oceanside home, watching the waves or surfing on them, hanging out with regular people. His foundation raised millions of dollars in scholarships and helped hundreds of kids go to college. Kids from the streets, from middle class homes. Junior helped everyone.
We see some of this in our own industry: funding scholarships and providing training to youngsters. In times of national disasters, like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, the construction industry is on the front lines, helping people. When you think it, we are very Junior-like.
Junior was approachable and constantly urged us to help others by mentoring, coaching and teaching. He’d work out with people who wanted help, and then surf with them. He was a huge guy, but never became too big. He knew where he came from. He knew what to do, and he wanted us to continue his legacy: Share a little love, Junior style.
About the Author
Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at FullContactTeam@gmail.com.