This year, my teammates and I are not listening to any outside noise. We’re not paying attention to the messages or voices of doubt we hear on the TV, or the distractions that surround us from every angle. It doesn’t matter what other people say.
The only message we need to pay attention to is the one we’re speaking to ourselves: We are one team with one goal. We’re putting in hard work and we expect great results. Our team must rely on its own strength — it’s about how we play on the field that counts. Though we might be seen as underdogs to some, I know we’re a strong team with all the talent and drive needed to be successful.
Having been in the NFL for 10 seasons now, I’ve seen my fair share of the unexpected. People may think that if you lose a game, or a few, you’re down and out, but that’s not always the case. There’s always a chance for a comeback. Just like in any game, when the first quarter isn’t looking so good, there’s always a second half. There’s always a chance for redemption. Furthermore, I know God’s plan always prevails. Out of the very worst of situations, God can bring victory to those whom He chooses.
My teammates have learned to really rely on each other. We motivate each other and spur one another on to be better and better each day. It’s not hard for me to stay motivated in this game because this is my job, it’s what I do. But I also love it. You have to love it to go out and do it every day! Not only do I have to motivate myself, I have to motivate everyone else on my team to press on, get better and find success.
Character is measured, not in times of victory, but in the hard times. Even when things don’t go the way you expect or hope they would, you must stay positive and motivated to keep going. Perseverance is the best way to both measure and develop a greater character.
Everyone is really excited to begin this season. Yes, we all get nerves and butterflies at moments, but when you prepare every day for so long to do what you love to do, you can’t wait to jump in. By preparing ourselves fully as we head into each game, we shouldn’t be anxious about anything. So much of football is a mental game. People don’t realize how much negative thoughts and expectations can impact the results. Circumstances can change at any time within a season or a game; staying optimistic is the key to finding victory.
Our biggest strength this year is the unity found amongst our team. We’re one team with one goal. Everyone knows their role and is on the same page. Our purpose is to win games, make it to the Super Bowl, and bring home the ultimate win. As long as we work together and keep our focus on that goal, we’ll be just fine. We’re all headed in the same direction. As long as we stay unified and work our hardest to get there, we’re going to make it all the way.
— Matt Forte
Matt Forte is a running back with the New York Jets and a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.