Living Life at Your Own Pace: What it Takes to Build the Winning Lifestyle
Of my three teams listed in the title, each went through a different process of building a team from nothing into something.
Vegas Golden Knights
They defied the odds and made it to the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence, the first team to do so since 1967 and the first team to do so whose Conference wasn’t full of expansion teams.
They had their lean years before winning the World Series in their fourth season, ending the latest New York Yankees dynasty in 2001. To date, they’re the fastest team in the expansion era to win a championship in any sport.
The Browns returned in 1999 and have been abysmal, posting two winning seasons since and bottoming out at 0-16 in 2017. However, with the return of Pro Bowl receiver Josh Gordon, the additions of Pro Bowlers Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry, coupled with a young defense that ranked 14th in an injury-plagued 2017, the Browns may be poised to win a lot of games to the point some analysts have them sneaking in as a Wildcard playoff contender.
The Golden Knights
What’s interesting about my three examples is each is or will be succeeding at their own pace. The Golden Knights made all the right moves in the NHL Expansion Draft in June 2017 and fielded a contender faster than anyone thought possible. Some people or in this case, some sports teams, just ‘get it’ faster than others.
The Diamondbacks had their struggles early on but the desert attracted studs like Randy Johnson and defied the odds in the 2001 World Series, which remains my favorite World Series to this day (until either my Indians or Rays win the whole thing).
The Browns have struggled mightily but their fanbase, considered the most loyal not only in the NFL but in sports, have stuck by their side, as have owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, who made the bold move in keeping coach Hue Jackson, hiring a proven GM in John Dorsey, and even picking away key front office personnel (like Eliot Wolf) from other franchises. Dorsey traded for a serviceable quarterback, drafted Baker Mayfield, traded for the most sure-handed receiver in football, stuck it out with Josh Gordon’s numerous off-the-field issues, and played a role in bringing offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who orchestrated the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense for six years, from their chief rivals.
Back to Vegas
It took the Golden Knights one year, and sometimes people succeed in their chosen passion within a year. It happens to one in one-hundred-thousand, if that. Put it this way, since 1993, not a single expansion team had a winning season in their first year. In fact, most are among the worst teams in the league.
Back to Arizona
It took the Diamondbacks four years, but a learning curve took place. This team was awful in their first season. And if one looks to their expansion brethren, the Tampa Bay Rays (then known as the Devil Rays), they finished no better than fourth in the AL East for ten seasons before winning the AL Pennant in 2008.
Back to Cleveland
And the Browns are in their 19th season of their rebuilding project and if you want more fun, have yet to make a Super Bowl, last winning an NFL Championship in 1964 (yes, they had rings then, contrary to popular belief among propagandist Steeler fans. Fact, the Steelers have fewer championships than the Browns). However, the team did what it should’ve done ten years ago, and it was to take the ultimate plunge. And plunge they did, from 3-13 to 1-15 to 0-16…and sometimes this counter-intuitiveness is what one needs to succeed. Tear yourself down to the bare bones, break yourself down, and build yourself back up.
In choosing our passion and pursuing it, we’re making the commitment to work hard every single day, putting more hours into it than our day job. Even if we work forty hours per week, we can still put in an equal number of hours. If you’re single and childless like me, you can put in even more hours. In fact, if you’re single and childless, you have no excuse.
And if you have obstacles, like taking care of family, are married, have kids, etc., you still have no excuse, but you can always go at your own pace. Remember, the Browns didn’t succeed for years and still haven’t succeeded yet, but I’ve never seen such a talented team, especially during the starters-versus-starters this preseason when they:
1. Forced four three-and-outs against Buffalo’s starting offense Week Two.
2. Registered four straight takeaways against Philadelphia last week.
In other words, it might take years to work at and build a project, but don’t you give up.
Don’t give in, and don’t sit there and say you’re not destined to succeed; we’re all destined to succeed. The 67,000+ fans who will be at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland twelve days from now will be expecting a Browns win, and not for a single second will we think a team we’re 6-32 against since returning to the NFL is going to walk all over us. We almost beat them twice last season, and we went 0-16.
None of us Browns fans are going to think for a single second we’re going to lose. And don’t you think so either.
Be 1-0 at the end of every week; this means doing something each week you hadn’t done yet, and those small victories build over time. Soon, you’ll be moving mountains, winning in life, and being destined to succeed.
Photo Credits: VJ Lovero- USA Today, Chase Stevens- Las Vegas Review Journal