Learning On The Job

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Critical lessons are learned on the job every day.

My grandpa had a construction company. My job as a teenager on one particular job site was to knock the old mortar off bricks that were to be re-used in a building project. Because I didn’t understand how best to do the job, I was falling behind and slowing down the project.

As I struggled to complete the job, Gramp took a gander at my knocking-the-mortar-off-the-brick technique.  

“Boy, you’ll never get the job done doing what you’re doing. Here, hold the hammer like this and the brick in your other hand at an angle like that. Knock the mortar off like so. Got it? Okay, get after it. We need those bricks pronto!”

Life lessons on the job. Know how to get it done right and then do it. The best lessons learned occur when you make a mistake or screw up and it doesn’t cost you a job, or de-rail a job that is on track. Happens on a construction site, happens on a football field.

Monday night in Milwaukee the Pittsburgh Power learned a valuable lesson on the job while having a set-to with the Mustangs. And the best part is that they were able to overcome mistakes that were made via a tremendous goal-line stand with 50 seconds left in the game to bring home a 49-47 win and move to 2-1 on the season.

Learning to play to the whistle, overcome referee mistakes, mental errors, what have you, it’s all part of a professional football players journey. All these and more occur in every game, whether it’s the NFL, AFL or the CFL.

On a critical no-call by a ref (who blew the call by not blowing the whistle) during an interception return by the Mustangs that turned a cruise control victory for the Power into a last second defensive stand, an important lesson was learned. The importance of having a mind-set as a team that to get the job done you have to be mentally tough enough overcome all obstacles, self-inflicted or not.

Having that mind-set is foundational to winning. And it is critical to fielding an expansion-team winner which is something that Power Head Coach Chris Siegfried has proven he is capable of by his track record in taking newbies to the playoffs.  

This mind-set, of course, is vintage Chuck Noll who once discussed the importance of that mind-set in a Tuesday morning team meeting and said, “Referees are human too. Sometimes you have to overcome the referee’s mistakes as well.”

Power owner and post-game deliverer of that important message just happened to come from none other than Lynn “Grandpa” Swann who, in the aftermath of a jubilant locker-room took the time to make sure that this all-important hard-won lesson was not overlooked by the players.

I’d say it’s just one of the advantages of having a Hall-of-Famer for an owner.