I’m not sure if the city you live in has opened yet or not, but Branson is just beginning to dip its toe in the water of the reopening process. And since Branson can’t really open until the tourists decide to come back, I’m still pretty much stuck inside. So, as a result of that, I thought I’d dust off another book from my Notre Dame book shelf for this week’s Throwback Thursday post. (Just in case you’re like me and still trying to find things to do at home.) This week I’m going to share a few excerpts from former Notre Dame Fighting Irish football player Darrell “Flash” Gordon’s book, “Change Does Not Occur in a Flash,” which came out in 2018.
“Notre Dame football players squeeze through a tight doorway stairwell as they take steps toward history at every home game. Some are relaxed. Some are hyper. Some are praying. Some are so nervous they’ve spent the last half an hour being sick in the bathroom.”
“The tunnel entrance is the same one where Miami and Notre Dame players pushed and shoved before the ‘Game of the Century’ that essentially decided the 1988 national championship. The Irish were inspired to win that game in large part when Holtz shocked his players by not scolding them after the fracas. In fact, he fired us into a frenzy by saying that nobody should get near Miami coach Jimmy Johnson if another scrap should break out. ‘I’ll kick his a—,’ Holtz told us. The players roared, and the tension was gone. We knew victory would be ours that day, inspired by a speech that was just as important to us as the infamous ‘Win One for the Gipper’ by legendary coach Knute Rockne.”
“We played like champions. Some traditions never change. But some do because they have to. College teams can’t win without adjusting to the times. Holtz knew when he arrived that he needed faster, stronger players to compete regularly with the Miamis, the Michigans, and the USCs. He knew Notre Dame needed better practice facilities, and it needed better tutors because many of the players he needed didn’t come from strong academic backgrounds.”
“Change is happening every year. Coach Kelly is facing big challenges as he seeks the top again. To compete for championships, he knows Notre Dame needs to step up in recruiting, in coaching, in executing plays, and in adding FieldTurf and Jumbotrons. Notre Dame needs to play like a champion to be a champion. But that’s no different than real life.”
“People must adjust to every up and down in their lives, whether they are football players or firefighters, CEOs or secretaries, pastors or painters. I am here to tell you that no matter what your circumstances, you can transform yourself. You can walk through a tunnel of darkness and find the light. You can live like a champion today.”
Yes, this book is an autobiography, but it’s much more than that. It is about making profound changes that can take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s about living with character, commitment, and Christian spirit. It’s about loving and laughing a lot, too.
“As I previously mentioned, one of the foremost truisms I’ve learned in life — from the streets of New Jersey to Notre Dame to now — is that major changes often are the result of a severe degree of discomfort. I was fearful of many things. In fact, it’s one of the great ironies of my life that I didn’t lust for collisions even though my college football career as an outside linebacker often depended on them.”
“I made interceptions and fumble recoveries and dozens of tackles at Notre Dame, but my greatest individual memories are of making sacks of the quarterback. I still dream of rushing in and making a play that brings a roar inside Notre Dame Stadium. I never gained pleasure from inflicting pain. It was a game. If you knock someone down, it’s just as important to reach out a hand and help him up. Sometimes it’s good to have a little fear.”
This is not an Xs and Os football book, but trust me, there is plenty of football in this book. Flash does an eloquent job of telling his story, and walking us through changes that propelled his life, to inspire all of us to transform our lives to reach our full potential. “Most people are scared of being uncomfortable during the transition from their routines to new opportunities. I call this the in-between time. If you can get past this in-between time, you can accomplish change successfully. I want you to finish this and be a better person forever.”
Flash’s book is an insightful read on change, which I think is quite applicable for us all due to the (COVID-19) times we are in right now, and the changes that are happening all around us. I hope you pick up your copy of “Change Does Not Occur in a Flash,” and when you do, please let me know what you think of it!
Cheers & GO IRISH!