Winning Today

I'm a huge football fan, a Missouri Tiger football fan to be exact.

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By Matt Forck, CSP & JLW

I'm a huge football fan, a Missouri Tiger football fan to be exact. No, I'm not telling you my problems–as the Tigers were one of the worst programs in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This past season, after a shaky start, they actually did pretty well. With a 8-4 regular season record and a trip to the Texas Bowl, 2009 was a year when a Tiger fan could smile at something besides Truman the Tiger's tail waving antics.

The 60,500 fans held their collective breath near the end of a 2009 Tiger's game when star quarterback Brad Smith was involved in a helmet-to-helmet contact with an opposing linebacker. Smith collapsed onto the turf immediately after the hit. For me these situations are hold my breath, say a prayer, butterflies in the gut hoping beyond hope that the player is okay. And typically, as the medical team surrounds the player, most people have this feeling. The color of the jersey doesn't matter at that moment; all players and fans want the same thing...for the player to be okay. These events break down team boundaries...it's about life and it's about living. (Luckily, after several minutes, Brad was on his feet to a standing ovation. He had a bruised chin and not the feared concussion or neck injury.)

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In a seemingly unrelated note, I received a phone call a few days later that took my breath away. Hearing that an electrical lineman was involved in a serious accident in Sikeston, Mo., it was hold my breath, say a prayer, butterflies in the gut and hoping beyond hope that the lineman would be okay. But, I knew he wouldn't–he didn't make it. It didn't matter that he wasn't on my team; he wore the tools and he played the game. That common bond joined us. The news hit me hard...

I think only someone who has played football and been around the game can really know what it takes to be a football player. Just the same, in our industry, you only really know if you have been there, used the tools, put in the hours and understand what it takes to get the job done. Both football and our work are hard, tough and sometimes dangerous. The difference is that in football things happen at such a pace, events are beyond our control. In our jobs we can't let them get to that point. We need to plan. Protect and use personal protective equipment. If the job changes, we stop it and huddle.

In our work, let's erase "hold my breath, say a prayer, butterflies in the gut and hoping beyond hope that he will be okay." Let's win today in each job, each choice...and in so doing pay a silent tribute to our fallen brothers. After all, it's about life and it's about living.


Matt Forck, CSP & JLW, is a leading voice in safety. Matt keynotes conferences and consults industry on safety's most urgent topics such as: safety awareness, employee engagement and motivation, cultural alignment, accountability and leadership. To learn more about Matt, book a presentation or download FREE safety tools, go to www.thesafetysoul.org.

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