You may think that because Steve Young was a Super Bowl wining quarterback, Hall of Fame inductee, attorney, & successful sports analyst that he just had the “it” factor- like everything he touched turned to gold but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He went to BYU as a quarterback and realized quickly that he wasn’t going to be a starter anytime soon…if ever. The starting QB Jim McMahon (Future Super Bowl winner) had the lead position locked in- not only was Young behind McMahon, but he was behind 6 others vying for the coveted QB position. In other words, 7 others players would have to go down before Young would ever get his shot. Steve began to have second thoughts- he wished he would’ve gone to a different college so he called his dad (nicknamed Grit) telling him that he wanted to quit. Grit told his son that he could certainly quit, but he couldn’t come home, saying, “I don’t live with quitters.”

Steve stuck it out…

To make matters worse, Steve’s coach walks up to him one day informing him that Steve was no longer a QB, he’d been demoted to defense. “I don’t coach lefties,” his coach walked off saying. Sure enough, Steve found out that every BYU Hall of Fame QB had been right handed- Steve Young was a leftie.

Given Young’s already brittle state of mind, that statement alone could’ve broken him…instead it motivated him. Although his position was now on defense, Young was determined to play quarterback. He set out on his own by working on his footwork, technique, & threw over 10,000 spirals in 2 months time. His arm hurt- he was putting in extra work for a position he didn’t even play…

But he kept at it…

A new coach meandering across the field saw the accuracy of Young’s throws & began lobbying to get him switched over to offense. Steve’s hard worked paid off…sort of…although he was back to the 8th QB, at least he was back on offense. With new hope, he began outworking others and moved through the ranks to the #2 spot. As “luck” would have it, the starter went down, and Young went in.

Now I’d like to tell you the rest was history and it was all cupcakes and rainbows from there but it wasn’t. Steve played awful- in one half alone he threw 5 interceptions… in a short amount of time, Young had racked up more losses than McMahon had amassed in 2 years.

But he kept at it…

Drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs, he played poorly for 2 seasons, but once again someone saw a diamond playing in the rough. Bill Walsh, Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers, brought Steve Young on board to back up legendary quarterback Joe Montana.

Back on the bench again, the role and mission were all too familiar and Young used his secondary role to study & learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. Montana & Young competed and jostled for the starting role-at one point, Young was relegated to a backup position when he was told he would be a starter.

But he kept at it…

Young got his shot, secured the starting position and went on to become Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer, attorney, & sports analyst for ESPN.

Nothing for Young came easy- even when he earned it, he found himself always having to prove himself…not so much to others, but to himself.

Steve Young kept at it…

…and so should you…..

Anything worth having will be hard. At times it’ll be thankless & humiliating… but it’ll all be worth it…some how, some way. While you may be deep on the depth chart in life-just because you’re not in the lead position…just because you’re not a starter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think, study, & play like one. Don’t play up to the position you find yourself in today, play to your potential. Do the offline work- work that is meaningless to everyone but you…learn from those you back up-good or bad, don’t stand around hoping they fall, help them rise & in return you will too. Put in the work not knowing when “the day” will arrive- when is not your concern…what you do between now and when is. You put in the effort & the universe will supply the events and people to ensure it “just so” happens. And often it happens beyond your wildest imagination.

But first you’ve got to play to your potential, not your current position.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

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