Living a Type “A” Life
Dr. Jim Denison
I want to tell you a story I’ve shared very seldom in public, about the football which changed my life.
Of all my friends growing up, I was the youngest. This meant that I was picked last for the kickball games and baseball teams. When you’re in first or second grade, that’s a big deal. Your friends aren’t impressed with your grades, just how far you can hit a ball. And so I grew up thinking that I wasn’t a very good athlete or performer. That was OK—my family was very supportive, I had good friends, and my childhood was happy.
But everything changed one day in the seventh grade, during physical education. We were playing football. I remember the day like it was last week. It was early fall, and the weather was just turning crisp. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky that day.
I was put on the offensive line, because everybody thought I couldn’t catch or throw very well. Larry Montgomery faded back to pass, the ball was tipped into the air, and I caught it and ran for a touchdown. From then on I was a wide receiver, and eventually the quarterback. I discovered I did have talent, and soon, more friends as well. And I learned a lesson that day: life rewards performance. Our culture says: You are what you do.