Updated: Dec 13, 2020
I have always loved the game of football. Ever since I was a little kid, I have just
loved the game. What I really love is the physical aspect of football. Truth be told, I
just loved hitting people! You know, when you’re a kid you just play. To me,
that’s great. You learn the rules of the game as you grow; but, no matter what,
you just play.
I was fortunate enough to play football from middle school through college.
Through the years my love for the game never changed. As I said, I loved to just play
and hit people; yet, I also learned something very important. Football is the great
What does that exactly mean? Well, to me, it means that everyone who is playing
has a clean slate, no matter your race, your religion, or your socioeconomic
background. Everyone has a fair chance to show what they can do.
I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for me; that’s the way it was on every football
team I ever played for growing up and in college. Eventually, I became a football
coach. That’s the way it has been on every team I have ever coached in my more
than thirty-seven year career.
Now, I was never in one offensive or defensive huddle where someone said, ‘Let’s
give the ball to the black guy or white guy or Asian guy or Latino guy.’ What we did
together was what made us a team. We came together, we listened for the play to be
called, and we ran the play. It was that simple. None of us cared about skin color,
religious background or how much money an individual player had or didn’t have.
All we cared about was getting the job done, playing the game. We were all
equal as players. That was not to say our individual talents were equal because
they weren’t. I played with a lot of amazing athletes much more talented than me,
but as teammates we were equal. We respected one another for what we could
bring to the team as well as for our strengths as individual players.
The only color we saw was the color of the school uniforms we represented. We
were a brotherhood brought together by our love of the game of football and
what each one of us as individuals could offer the team. That very same
brotherhood, brought by our love of the game of football brought us together and
caused us to love our teammates through the game of football. Collectively, we
didn’t care about anything else except our teammates and the team. Now, if that’s
not what equal means, then I really don’t know what it does mean.
If you want to see great equality, unity, and brotherhood, then watch a great
football team. Better yet, bring those attributes to your team, regardless of your
It’s really pretty simple. I know for a fact that anyone who has ever really
played the game of football would agree with me in saying that football is the
great equalizer. Now, imagine if you took the word football out and replaced it
with your occupation or organization. How great would that be? The
possibilities are endless.
By Mickey Marley