Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shoot the gaps!

After a short blog hiatus and much loved family vacation (pictures below) I have compiled so many thoughts that I'm bursting to share.  One fire was initially sparked by a great run/talk that my sister, Leah, and I had across and up the sand dunes in Michigan, and she reminded me today with a forward from Martha Beck, a particularly dynamic coach of hers.

"Shoot the gaps" - it is all too familiar to me from my days on the defensive line for the Rockford Warriors football team. Coach would line us up and "Strong side cross" would be called.  Now, you have to understand that as an underclassman I was an especially 'lean' high school boy trying desperately to pack on the pounds (you could say 'lanky' or even the cruel 'skinny', but I preferred 'lean') My task was to take my tall and 'lean' 150 pound frame and cut through the thick 220+ pound senior offensive end and tackles as my defense tackle buddy crossed behind me. 

While this is from my 8th grade year, I know what you are thinking.  "How can someone so tough and fearsome looking have trouble tearing up the offensive line?" I often wondered the same thing. 

"Campbell. What the hell! Why didn't you get through the gap!" To me it sure sounded like he asked me a question. I replied that I simply couldn't fit. 

As I was subsequently running laps around the field I suppose he either didn't want a reply or maybe he saw a gap that I didn't. Maybe it was both. I continued to run, which wasn't helping my 'lanky' predicament.

Maybe Coach did see a gap. I sure didn't, but then again, I was focusing on the daunting figures of Koeningsfeld and Larson across from me. Looking back, I now know that I was my problem. I wasn't looking at the gap, I was looking at the two big reasons why I didn't have a cricket's chance in a chicken coop to make it through. 

Now here is the lesson for all my ballers out there. Next time you play pick-up, whether it's 1-on-1, 21, or a full blown 5-on-5, drive, but don't focus on your opponent. After you glance at their feet to see which is the best way to drive them (attack the front foot!), look to the gap just beyond their hip. That is where you want, scratch that, where you need to be. You won't get there by looking at and speculating about how big, talented or quick your opponent is. 

"Energy flows where attention goes"

Same goes for everyone, baller or not.  Focus on the reasons why you are qualified, the best candidate or have an idea that can be turned into a success. You'll never get off the ground if you look elsewhere. Remember what Gretzky said about missing 100% of the shots you never take.  

It also never hurts to have a great friend/coach/mentor/partner to remind you of all this along the way when the offensive lineman of the world seem a bit too daunting. Thanks big sis!

Our smiles have started to turn into laughs. Completely contagious laughs.

Not only are their pouts similar, they sleep the same too.

Yep. Naps have been a big part of our summer. 

If you haven't noticed, everyone loves taking naps with Baby Audrey. 
Here is a video from our family vacation. 




  1. AWESOME, ANDY! Oh, I LOVE it! You totally made my week! And I am going to shamelessly steal this (and give you credit!)! Thank you, thank you! (And the song is PERFECT!!!)

  2. And I am SOOO jealous of the "cricket's chance in a chicken coop" euphemism! Damn.