#1601 Areté +1° #418: Touchdown, Jerry Rice!

When? Every Time He Caught the Ball

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter from our new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

I'm rocking the Heroic T-shirt today.

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Jerry Rice was born in a small town in Mississippi. He was the sixth of eight kids. His dad was a bricklayer. He went to a small college (Mississippi Valley State) where he played football. Although he was an All-American, he didn’t know if he’d be drafted when he watched the NFL Draft Day alone with his brother in 1985.

As it turns out, the football genius Bill Walsh saw something special in Jerry and traded a first, second, and third-round pick, so the Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers could draft him with the 16th pick. Note: His mom was cleaning houses and would have missed the draft if the woman whose house she was cleaning didn’t insist she watch ESPN on her TV. His dad missed it because he was laying bricks.


Imagine this…

After freaking out on the first airplane trip of his life, Jerry safely arrived in San Francisco. He shows up at his first practice as a rookie for the defending Super Bowl Champions.

He runs the first simple receiving route. He catches the ball. THEN HE RUNS FULL SPEED ALL THE WAY TO THE END ZONE.

“Touchdown, Jerry Rice!”

Repeat with the second receiving route.

Repeat again EVERY SINGLE TIME he caught the ball in EVERY SINGLE PRACTICE over his entire 20-year career.

Just to be clear in case you were wondering…


It’s crazy.


The veterans and other receivers thought he was crazy.

At first.

Then the other receivers started doing it, too.

(Funny how that whole leadership thing works, eh?)

Why would he run into the end zone every single time he caught the ball?

Well, as Jerry puts it in his great memoir called Go Long!: “How you practice = How you play. It’s that simple. I don’t care if we’re talking about basketball or ballet, cooking or checkers. The way in which you prepare for a challenge is usually related to your success in that same challenge. If the level at which you practice is commensurate with the task, then on ‘game day,’ you’ll be fine.”

+1° time…

How are YOU going through the plays of your life? Are you showing up and playing the ultimate game with an ALL IN intensity or just kinda sorta going through the motions? Here’s to running our routes like we mean it.

“Touchdown, YOU!”

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