Determination – Lesson about choice & commitment

Chris Draft – Determination – Parent’s lesson about the power of choice & making a commitment.

Determination, you’re asking determination in that as a relationship to upgrade. Very good question. I think as I go out talk to some other kids, I’ll sight a few things that’ll happen as I was playing that I think really define how I think or my mindset. It really revolves—two of them revolves around sports, the other one is more of academic related. The first one, being variety of choice. I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. So you love soccer. Love playing soccer. But I was 5 years old, really didn’t do anything, running around, didn’t even play. I loved that. My first time playing an organized sport. My first time.

What happens when you organize sports is you actually have to practice. Obviously my dad was the coach and he said, you’re going to have to run a lap. I’m going to play soccer, I didn’t come out here to run laps.

Marzena Kmiecik: How was that, with your dad coming to you? Could you take him seriously?

Absolutely, absolutely. I was still 5 years old. It wasn’t as much as him saying it, as much as it was not really having experienced anything more than play. Like you play it, not actually train for it. So again, I was 5. But he challenges me to be wrong out in the open. There’s numerous accounts happening. Kind of crying, kind of not wanting to do it, saying no. I said numerous accounts. But basically, I didn’t want to do it, and so my dad looked at me and said, “Hey, you know what, if you don’t want to practice, you’re not going to play. You can go sit by your mom.”

I went over and sat by her. She basically looked at me and said, “Hey, you either get out there and practice with their teammates or you’re going to sit with me the whole time.” I take that example—again, I’m 5 years old, but it’s very important in terms of the idea of making a choice. So you have to make a choice to go all in. while playing NFL, people always look at it from—oh, everybody doing it is going to be so great. They think of it at that type of level, a 5 year old level, a 5 year old playing soccer. And really, the idea of really making a choice to my dad and my mom made clear, it wasn’t about how good I was.

It wasn’t, because you’re so good you need to make a choice to get out there, or you’re terrible, so you’re going to have to work if you’re ever going to want to play.

That was about a commitment?

It didn’t matter. That wasn’t part of it…

If you’re going to be a part of something, you’re going to have to go all in. you make a choice. You don’t negotiate it.

It’s all or nothing.

You need to go all the way. You need to find out what the rules are and everything that is accepted. Right from the beginning, you’re going to have to make a choice—are you going to be in? It’s important to be able to do that so right from the beginning, you’re not creating outs. You have to make up your mind, what do you want to do?

Marzena Kmiecik: Do you think it has to do with training, to have to have intention, to know why you’re doing something?

Absolutely. I think it comes with understand what you’re getting yourself into. Now you have a comprehension of that. You’re not going to have it complete because you really can’t understand what goes into the second point. I started playing football when I was 10 years old. So 10 years old, playing football.

Marzena Kmiecik: You’ve had a long career!

I always wanted to play, I always wanted to play football. But totally different, because I’m playing out on the playground and we’re running. It’s not organized football. It’s not pads football. When I first started practicing, I had to figure out where the pads go, how to put the pads on. All those things that when you’re playing on the playground, you don’t know about. So the basics.

I go out, my first practice, and they ask me what position do I want to go to? Well, I want to be a running back. I want to be a running back like Tony Dorsett, a running back that looked just like my dad, playing for the Dallas Cowboys. They said, no. you’re going to be offense and offensive liner.

Marzena Kmiecik: How do you deal with that fact?

First to second practice, I was committed to showing them they were absolutely and completely wrong. So I was running, everything. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the fastest, I wanted to show them that there was no way that I should not be a running back. The great thing with football is if you are willing to put everything out there, you will be sore and hurt, especially the first few days. So after those first couple of days, I’m at home. They’re not going to let me be running back! I just started playing, so I’m questioning, is this for me?

I’m not going to be able to play. At least as an offensive lineman, I had to the chance to protect my brother, who was the quarterback. But it was completely different then, what I expected. So this beginning point of football—it’s harder, I’m sore, it is not as fun as I thought it was going to be. And then the position I’m playing is not.

Marzena Kmiecik: Reality versus imagination or expectations.

Yeah, so you kind of… until you get into something, you really don’t know. You don’t t how difficult it is. That’s the importance of having a mentor that can walk you through things. It’s important, but at a certain point, you have to go in. and you have to do it yourself, especially with something that is physical related. That’s a lot harder for someone to tell you how it’s going to feel. They can help you in your training, where you’re gradually building up, building up. But they’re not going to be able to really explain to you that you’re going to be sore. From every inch of your body, there’s going to be a soreness.

So I’m sitting there like, I don’t know. I don’t know if I—I don’t know! And so my dad—very simple:

” If you start something, you finish it. Start something, you finish it. Commitment.”

Marzena Kmiecik: Where do you find the finish line? When you start something, you don’t know anything about, where is the finish line? How far do you push yourself?

Which is a very good question. For sports, they create those finish lines. That’s why I love sports. They create a finish line, where you’re going to have a season that you play, so there’s a natural finish line. But if you start something… right? I think in a lot of things, there is a point you have to decide, where is your completion point? When you’re creating your goals, your short time, your long time. Even a short term goal, there’s a point you have to get to. You have to understand where that point is. If you start something, you finish it.

It was so important because I got knocked off of what I thought, and without encouragement, I could’ve very easily said, no. this is not for me. But it’s in the fight, it’s in the push, it is in the understanding. And it’s in playing an offensive line and a defensive line, something that after being young, I didn’t play again. But while I was playing in the NFL, that made it where I had a deeper understanding of everything I was doing. I held onto things I learned at 10 years old, 11 years old, and was able to use them as a 32 year old playing in the NFL. Because I had the push through it.

It’s commitment. You say, where does it come from? It’s going to be hard. It’s not just expecting it to be hard. You’re expecting that if something is worthwhile and there’s not a whole bunch of people doing it, there’s going to be obstacles in your way. Now, can you anticipate exact what those obstacles are? In certain respects, you can. But otherwise, you’re not. Can you anticipate exactly how you’re going to feel? Somewhat. But there’s going to be a point where you’re down, you’re hurting, and you’re going to have to make up your mind, are you willing to continue? And really again understanding, if it’s worthwhile, if you want something different, if you want to do something that’s great, there’s going to be those moments. And hopefully you have somebody in your life who’s going to challenge you and say:

“You know what, you didn’t get into this because it was going to be easy. You didn’t get into it because everything was going to go right, that you knew that was going to happen. You got into it because the obstacles and uncertainty is what is going to make you grow. That’s what makes you damn great.”