Occasional wisdom by Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.
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I actually have two questions. You can answer one, both, or none. I won't mind. I'm sure you're very busy, and I'll take whatever time I can get in between your studies of WWII Nipponese shipping lane studies and your learning of Sanskrit.
I recently graduated from a large state university that recently won many national championships. As an alumni of this school, I feel very proud of the many accomplishments in such a short period of time, and I have no problems talking about them. However, my friends who did not graduate this school now seem to be avoiding me. They aren't answering my phone calls or my emails. I feel this may be caused by my repeatedly mentioning how their school has not won three national championships in one year. Am I wrong in bringing this subject up with them, or are they wrong for not joining in my joy?
My second question is, "What do I do from here" I know you graduated from law school and then afterwards decided to start coaching football. As someone who took a while to figure out what they wanted to do, I was hoping you could help me. I graduated last May with a degree in history, and now very little clue as to what I want to do with the degree. Law school doesn't interest me, nor does teaching, nor does continuing my education. What did you do to help you figure out your path in life? Any tips for the pathless?
If there's one thing I've learned, UF, is that you don't have to have any practical knowledge of what you're doing in a particular field to have success within said field. In fact, it helps to be kinda dumb, because you're not drawn into the limited orthodoxies that prevent your better-educated peers from maximizing efficiency. For example, if I had gone on to become a patent attorney rather than coach people who had never heard of American football in Finland, I would have done so with the knowledge that to appear before the U.S. Patent Office I would have to provide proof to the office that I have been admitted to practice before at least one court in the United States. Well, say I don't have any proof. I've just limited myself. But if I hadn't gone to law school, I wouldn't even know you needed to prove anything to some bureaucrat. I would just walk into the U.S. Patent Office in and do my job the way I thought was best. At the end of the day, that's all you can really do. And if I'm a naturally talented lawyer, I'll win.
Do you think the guy who executed the first "castle kingside" in chess had ever played before? It's a blatantly illegal move. But he refused to allow his mind to be boxed in by "the rules." He made that shit up and sold it. And now everybody does it. Our current attorney general is effective in much the same way, and I wouldn't expect anything less from a resourceful, can-do Texan. Everybody's pissed off at him, but guess what? He accomplished what he meant to accomplish, did it his way, and he didn't break the rules. Who the hell is Mel Kiper? A millionaire. Somebody told me Sam Houston State was pissed at me for attempting a double reverse screen throwback hook-and-ladder with ten seconds to go and a 62-point lead. That's just "not done." Well, we did it, and we scored, because the goal of the game is to score, and we accomplished our goal. How many times in your life will you score 80 points? Identify your goal and take the straightest line to its fruition. Don't let society tell you "you can't do that" when you obviously can.
You have to respect a man who lives his life by his own rules.
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I've also come to understand over time that nothing in life is more important than your friends, except possibly your family. And also God. Growing up, I was always taught to prioritize: God first, then family, then friends, then complete strangers, then your front lawn, then pets, then yourself. I was confronted with a question while reading Jonathan Safran Foer's moving Everything Is Illuminated about God's priorities, which of course would be the priorities. At the novel's emotional apex, Foer had Nazis lining up Jews outside their shtetl, challenging the men to spit on the Torah or watch their families massacred. Brutal, atrocious business. Now, if God is first, a man can't spit on His book. God comes before even family. But if we're bound by His moral law to put the welfare of others ahead of our own, wouldn't God then be bound to put the welfare of a man's family ahead of his own glorification, and forgive his disgusting renunciation as a matter of His own loving priorities? It's a truly wrenching moral crisis. So you have to ask yourself, UF: was it part of God's plan for your university to win three major national championships in a row? If you find the answer is `yes,' screw your jealous friends. Look out for Number One.
It could also be they're avoiding you because you're an asshole. I was listening to public radio recently while I was mapping the inefficiencies of my local sewer system for my upcoming presentation to the Lubbock City Council, "Optimization of Collection System Maintenance Frequencies and System Performance," and I heard a story about a guy who suddenly realized all his friends thought he was an asshole. They actually called him an asshole to his face a lot of the time, but he thought they were just joking around, busting his balls. Really, though, he was just a total jerk. Interrupting people, making inappropriate jokes, dismissing stories before people even had a chance to tell them, saying vaguely racist things. All "ironic," right, but this guy never stopped being ironic. So he was just an asshole. He started asking people about it, and he found out his friends warned people who were about to meet him for the first time and a lot of the time just tried to exclude him altogether if possible. Even his mom thought he was an asshole and had just come to accept it. This is probably your problem, too, FU. Ask around.
Thanks for writing, and kalpitamaasanam dayaanidhe,
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* - An actual question sent in by an actual reader! If you have a question for Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, don't be an asshole - just ask him via sundaymorningqb at yahoo dot com.